Apr 14, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox fans gather outside Fenway Park before the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Royals and Red Sox and Return to Normalcy

It’s just a game.

That’s the most important part to stress at the front. It’s just a game.

So while a manhunt for the suspected Boston Marathon bomber captured the nation’s attention, a little baseball game wasn’t anyone’s priority. Nor should it have been. The Royals series opener at Fenway Park with the Boston Red Sox was postponed early in the afternoon, to little surprise. I doubt anyone was all that upset while Boston was in the midst of a city-wide lockdown following early Friday morning’s bizarre shootout in Watertown. Security was diverted to the hunt for a terrorist; there was little need to have them watching stadium turnstyles if it wasn’t necessary to do so.

All day, Boston residents noted how surreal it was to have the streets be mostly empty while many businesses were closed and much public transportation was stuck.

 

To this point, there hasn’t been an announced makeup date for Friday’s game. Saturday’s game will go as planned and perhaps Sunday will involve a double header. Before the game was officially postponed, there were questions about when – or if – the series would be played. Ideas were floated for potential solutions – an empty Fenway (to keep the public from having to gather while a suspect was still at large), moving the series to Kansas City.

There wasn’t knowledge that the suspect would be brought into custody when the decision would be made. Thankfully, Boston police have brought him in. That’s the important part. So no alternatives will need to be explored.

The Royals just happened to be the team in Boston at the time of all of this, hanging out in a hotel while police and first responders did the excellent job that they do. Tim Collins (Worcester, MA native) just wanted it all to be over. Elliot Johnson had the proper perspective. Bob Dutton, dropped into the situation, did what he does, reporting from around the hotel with whatever information he could gather while police encouraged him to stay in the building.

But again, the important part of this story isn’t that the Royals and Red Sox will play Saturday. It’s that the city is no longer on watch, waiting to see if the suspect turns up. He’s caught and the first steps towards healing begin.

This time of year, baseball is a part of everyday life. Some have said things like “if they cancel a game, then the terrorists have won” and I suppose I understand the sentiment, but there are times to exercise caution. It was the right decision. Now that the search is over, it’s time to get back to everyday life and that starts with Fenway Park and a baseball game. There will likely be some with some apprehension remaining, but for most, the distraction that three hours and an acre of grass provides will be a welcome sight after a week of questions without answers.

The Royals will run into an emotional environment. Maybe the Red Sox will ride the emotion to great performances and overwhelm the Royals. Maybe they’ll be too charged up and make mistakes. Returning to the field – to normalcy – is the victory.

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