The story of how the Boston bombings inspired the Red Sox to win the 2013 World Series.
On a sunny Sunday in 2013, the city of Boston awoke to celebrate Patriots Day. To me and you, Patriots Day is an institution in the state of Massachusetts. This holiday honours the first battles of the Revolutionary War, with both the Boston Marathon and the traditional 11 a.m. Red Sox game taking place on the day.
The 2013 Patriots Day marked the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, which started that morning with over 30,000 runners taking part. As the clock struck 11 a.m., the first pitch was thrown at Fenway as they welcomed the Toronto Blue Jays. Following nine innings of play, the Red Sox secured a 3-2 victory in a game that was soon to be forgotten.
The festive atmosphere of Patriots’ Day was shortly interrupted just shy of 3pm, as a pair of bombs detonated near the marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street. Planted by brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the bombs left three people dead and hundreds injured, many with missing limbs.
For the next five days, Boston was on lockdown until that Friday night, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother were arrested, following an extensive manhunt. During that week and the rest of that season, the Red Sox became a symbol of the city’s resilience.
The following day all eyes returned to Fenway as the Red Sox returned to play the Kansas City Royals. In a pre-match ceremony, the Red Sox gave thanks to the Boston Police and elected leaders for their efforts in tracking down the two brothers. It was during this ceremony that designated hitter David Ortiz gave an emotional speech expressing the thoughts of many in the city and around the country: “This is our f*cking city. And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
These choice words became a rallying cry and played into the greater narrative of the Boston Strong movement. In games after the marathon, the Red Sox hung a jersey on the dugout saying Boston Strong and 617, representing the city’s area code.
As they entered October (the exciting stage of the baseball season) the Sox were in the play-offs, having finished the regular season on 97-65. This is even more impressive when you consider that in the previous season they had come last in the American League East, with a record of 69-93.
Boston opened the playoffs by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in four games in the Division Series. Then in the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers four games to two to win their 13th American League pennant.
The Red Sox would then go on to win the World Series by defeating the Cardinals in six games, clinching the championship at Fenway for the first time in 95 years. The traditional duck boat parade ensued like it always does (11 times in the last 17 years) but this time the route stopped by the Marathon finish line on Boylston Street. It was there that the World Series trophy and the original Boston Strong 617 jersey were placed on the finish line. This signified a tragedy that had turned into a triumph.
It is amazing how sport can galvanise a city or a nation in its darkest hour. I do not think you need to look further than the bombings and the Boston Strong movement being lynchpins for the Red Sox winning the World series some six months later. At every step of the way that team visited hospitals, they honoured victims, they played baseball but most importantly they won the World Series.
“This is our f*cking City” – David Ortiz