Yesterday the Fenway Faithful emerged from Fenway Park as they have every Patriots Day for near a half century. The mood was light as they made their way to and through Kenmore Square, many on their way to Copley and the finish line of the Marathon. The Sox had battled back from a blown save and finished off a sweep of the Rays with a walk-off 3-2 win.
Boston is a city steeped in tradition and Patriots Day, the Red Sox and the Boston Marathon are woven within the fabric of that tradition. Yesterday faceless cowardice attempted to kill that tradition with murderous hate, terror and fear!
What faceless cowards do not understand is that tradition does not simply whither away and crawl off into the night. What faceless cowards do not understand is that tradition will take their act of hatred and weave into its own fabric of honor, of remembering, of tradition.
What faceless cowards do not understand is that this great city will bleed, will weep, will grieve as we heal and as we mourn and we will endure.
What faceless cowards do not understand is that we are emboldened and what they have done is unified a people and in the midst of their hate they have, once again, brought out the best in us!
This morning I repost last years story about this special day, in honor of the innocents lost, the wounded and in memory of a simpler time…..
Johnny Kelley (the Elder), 1935 and 1945.
Mike Timlin, 2004.
Johnny Kelley (the Younger), 1957
Josh Beckett, 2007
Bill Rogers, 1975, ’78′, ’79′, ’80′.
Clay Buchholz, 2008.
Timothy Cherigat , 2004.
Dice K Matsusaka, 2011, and
Wesley Korir, 2012.
all have in common? It’s simple really, they all won on Marathon Day!
The Boston Marathon ran its first race in 1897 and yesterday marked the 54th year in a row that the Red Sox played at Fenway Park on the same day the race was run; and it was the 44th time that the game started at 11 AM.
You see Marathon Day also happens to be Patriots Day. That day is big doings in Boston for it is the day that marks the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
Perhaps you have heard of it? If not, it took place on a green a bit northwest of Boston on April 19, 1775 and it began a small event that had a slight impact on history. I think it was called the American Revolution or something like that. But I digress.
Patriots Day is a holiday in the state of Massachusetts and until 1969 it was celebrated, strange as it may seem, on April 19th. In 1969 a law was passed that now celebrates the day on the third Monday in April every year giving the residents of Massachusetts a three-day weekend.
It is a day steeped in tradition and since 1969 that tradition has included the Red Sox playing at Fenway Park in a game that starts at 11:00 AM. I’m sure you are wondering why 11 AM, a lot of visiting players probably wonder why too.
The Boston Marathon started in Hopkinton Massachusetts at noon and ended in Kenmore Square, 26 miles away, hence a marathon.
Fenway Park is in Kenmore Square and back in the day the Marathon winning times were in the two-hour 15 to 20 minute range so they would be hitting the finish line at between 2:15 and 2:25. Well also back in the day, a baseball game that lasted three hours was a very long game however even if the game was also a marathon, it would end at right around two PM affording the Fenway Park patrons time to spill out of Fenway, walk down the hill over the Brookline Avenue bridge and watch the winner hit the finish line. Pretty good plan don’t cha think?
A while back the finish line was moved a mile up the road to the Prudential Center in Copley Square, baseball games got longer and longer and the Fenway Patrons could, if timing were right, catch a glimpse of the leaders with a mile to go. In 2005 it all changed and now there are varying starting times for various groups of participants and the Fenway patrons have zero chance of seeing the leaders unless they leave the game in the third inning or so.
But tradition is tradition and they can still saunter down the hill and catch the battlers, the everyones who run the Boston Marathon because it is the Boston Marathon, the oldest one in the country.
Yesterday the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Red Sox 1-0 in a great duel of pitchers between Daniel Bard and James Shields. The game took three hours and eight minutes, perfect for the back in the day time to see the Marathon come through.
Daniel Bard threw eight straight balls in the 7th inning yesterday, four of them to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria accounting for the games only run.
The Red Sox are now 4-6 in fifth place in the AL East, two games behind the division leading Baltimore Orioles.
On April 16th 1912, they defeated the Philadelphia Athletics 9-2 at Shibe Park. They were 4-1 and in first place by 1/2 game and they headed home to open their new ball park which was slated for April 18th. Oh and on Marathon Day, Patriots Day 1912, a young man named Mike Ryan, had himself quite a day!
And so it is and so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, Patriots Day.