BOSTON A defiant David Ortiz stood on the Fenway Park infield and told the crowd, “Stay Strong,” bringing a rousing cheer from Bostonians weary from a week of bombings, stay-at-home orders and a manhunt that locked down the city for a day.
Playing at home for the first time since two bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line killed three people and wounded more than 180 others, the Red Sox honored the victims and the survivors with a pregame ceremony and an emotional video of scenes from Monday’s race.
“We will run another marathon, bigger and better than ever,” public address announcer Henry Mahegan said. “We are one. We are Boston Strong.”
Neil Diamond came out in a Red Sox cap in the eighth inning to give a live performance of “Sweet Caroline,” the Fenway staple that has been adopted on the road as opposing ballclubs show their support for the city of Boston. Fans followed it up with a chant of “U.S.A.!”
Bomb-sniffing dogs and military in camouflage fatigues joined the police patrolling the ballpark, and long lines of fans waited to be scanned by metal-detecting wands. Many were still waiting to get in when the Red Sox and Kansas City Royals lined up along the base-lines for the pregame ceremony.
The Red Sox went on to beat the Royals 4-3 on Daniel Nava’s three-run home run in the eighth inning.
With Boston Athletic Association volunteers in their yellow and blue jackets lined up in front of the Green Monster and police and public officials encircling the mound, ballpark organist Josh Kantor played The Star-Spangled Banner, with the crowd singing along. A giant U.S. flag was draped over the 37-foot-high Green Monster left-field wall, temporarily covering the “B Strong” logo newly painted in left-center field.
Pictures of the victims, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, were shown on the scoreboard, along with pictures from the marathon and the aftermath. Some of the biggest cheers were for the police who tracked down the suspects.
Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, along with other law enforcement officials and rank-and-file, circled the mound for three ceremonial first pitches: From firefighter Matt Patterson, who rushed to the site of the bombings; from Steven Byrne, of Lowell, who was injured in the explosions, and from Marathon stalwarts Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father-and-son team that has participated in the race the last 21 years. Rick, who has cerebral palsy, is pushed by his father the whole way.
Ortiz, who had been on the disabled list all season, took to the microphone at the end of the pregame ceremony and showed fans the specially designed uniforms saying “Boston” on the front instead of the “Red Sox” they have worn for decades.
“This is our … city,” he said, using an expletive that elicited a huge cheer.
The Red Sox said the uniforms would be autographed and auctioned off to raise money for the One Fund Boston, the charity established to help the victims.
Police identified two suspects in the bombings; one was killed and the other was captured during a manhunt that shut down the city and surrounding area for most of Friday.
The Red Sox postponed Friday night’s game against the Royals; it will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday. The Boston Bruins, who played on Thursday night, pushed back Friday’s game against Pittsburgh to Saturday afternoon; the Penguins won 3-2.
“At least we could all breathe a little easier and sleep a little easier,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “And now it’s, hopefully, time to work ourselves into trying to get things back to normal again, but it will always leave a scar somewhere.”
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma met with reporters before the game wearing a black T-shirt with words “Boston Strong” over his shirt and tie.
“I feel like we’re playing with the Bruins today, not against them,” Bylsma said before the game. “I know I share their pride yesterday in their city and their people and certainly their law enforcement yesterday. I’m certainly not a Bostonian, but I certainly share in that pride and hope to today with them as well.”
The Bruins took the ice for their pregame warmup wearing baseball caps for the Boston and state police, along with one for the police in Watertown, where the suspect was captured, featuring the Bruins’ “Spoked B” logo and the word “Strong” on the back.
Security was tight at Fenway and at the TD Garden, as it was when the Bruins made their emotional return after the bombing on Thursday night.
A SWAT team member with a German shepherd stood guard at the doorway to the tunnel leading to Royals dugout about 2 hours before game time. A man in military fatigues checked all of the players’ lockers and the many cracks in the ceiling tiles with a flashlight.
Outside, fans milled around, waiting for the gates to open. Several of them were wearing Boston Marathon jackets dating back as long as a decade.
Boston Marathon Bombing: Significant Developments:
- Monday, April 15: Bombs at the Marathon finish line kill three and injure hundreds more
- Thursday, April 18: Black hat and white hat: FBI releases photos and video of suspects
- Thursday and Friday, April 18-19: MIT police officer is killed; shootout in Watertown; one suspect dies, other escapes
- Friday, April 19: Manhunt for surviving suspect as Boston area is put on lockdown
- Friday evening, April 19: Lockdown lifted; suspect is located and captured in Watertown
- Monday, April 22: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with using a weapon of mass destruction
- Wednesday, May 1: Three college friends of Dzhokhar accused of disposing of backpack
- More Coverage: Boston Marathon Bombings