April 21, 2013

The healing begins at home plate in emotional Fenway Park tribute

Red Sox fans remember the victims, survivors and heroes of the Marathon bombings – and then celebrate a big win.

By JIMMY GOLEN The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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A fan holds a sign expressing the city’s mood after the Boston Red Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park on Saturday. Victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings were honored in an emotional pregame ceremony.

Photos by The Associated Press

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Red Sox fans display an American flag during pregame ceremonies at Fenway Park on Saturday. It was the team’s first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings. The Sox planned to autograph their uniforms and auction them off to raise money for a charity to benefit victims of last week’s violence.

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For complete coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and manhunt, click here.

A SWAT team member with a German shepherd stood guard at the doorway to the tunnel leading to the Royals dugout about 2 1/2 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. Long lines of fans waited to be scanned by metal-detecting wands; many were still waiting to get in when the Red Sox and Royals lined up along the base-lines for the pregame ceremony.

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 Edward Davis, along with other law enforcement officials and rank-and-file, circled the mound for the ceremonial first pitches from firefighter Matt Patterson, who rushed to the site of the bombings; from Steven Byrne, who was injured in the explosions, and from Dick Hoyt, accompanied by his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy.

Ortiz, who had been on the disabled list all season, took the microphone and showed fans the specially designed uniforms saying "Boston" on the front instead of the "Red Sox" they have worn for decades. Both teams wore patches with the "B Strong" logo.

The Red Sox said their uniforms would be autographed and auctioned off to raise money for the One Fund Boston, the charity established to help the victims. The Boston Celtics, who opened their playoff series against the Knicks with a loss in New York on Saturday, said they would donate $100,000 to the charity, with another $100,000 to come from fundraisers.

The team said fans would be given the option to donate their refund from the canceled April 16 game against Indiana to One Fund Boston.


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Additional Photos

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The Boston Red Sox line up during an emotional tribute to victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings, as an image of slain Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier is displayed on the scoreboard. Collier was killed in a confrontation with the bombing suspects Thursday night.

David Ortiz
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David Ortiz draws cheers as he urges Red Sox Nation to “stay strong” during a spontaneous and rousing speech at Fenway Park before the start of Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals.

Neil Diamond
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Neil Diamond wows the crowd by singing “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth inning of the game. The singer asked to perform after traveling to the game on his own initiative.

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