Red Sox, Bruins back in actionBOSTON -- The city's professional baseball team took the field Saturday with the familiar "Red Sox" stitching across the front of its home whites replaced with one word -- "Boston."
On the Green Monster in left-center field, directly under a light stanchion, a new sign had been painted: within a white circle, the iconic "B" logo, with the word "strong" printed in bold white lettering. The logo also occupied a spot over the heart on the jerseys worn by both teams at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals.
Baseball resumed on Yawkey Way, the 16th game on the 2013 Red Sox schedule but the first played after a terrorist attack in Boston, five days after two bombs exploded less than a mile away.
At the end of the pregame ceremony, David Ortiz addressed the crowd, uttered a profanity and added, "Nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong." Daniel Nava gave the fans something more to cheer about late, hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Red Sox edged the Royals 4-3. That big hit came after Neil Diamond surprised fans by taking the field and singing Fenway favorite "Sweet Caroline" during the middle of the eighth. The Red Sox said Diamond showed up at Fenway 40 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, called the switchboard and said, "Hey, I'm Neil Diamond, and I'm here. Can I sing? I flew in and I want to sing. Will you let me sing Sweet Caroline?" The Red Sox arrived home from Cleveland in the early hours of Friday morning, but the game they were scheduled to play later that night was postponed, the city remaining on high alert until law enforcement authorities successfully apprehended the second of two suspects wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings that shattered the tranquility of Patriots Day in Boston.
Like so many in this town and across the world, Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino watched the capture take place in Watertown on Friday night, the exhilaration that replaced the fear on city streets, and the public display of appreciation for those who had taken part in the massive effort to restore calm.
"Watching those claps and cheers," Victorino said, "and now to take the field in front of those same people and fans, to see the joyfulness and happiness brought out, that makes today a special day for me.
"But not only for me, the city. We honor them. We are athletes who take the field, but we honor the city, we honor the fans, we honor the people, the law enforcement, we honor the lives who were lost and those who continue to battle in hospitals. We wish them a speedy recovery."
In pregame ceremonies intended to be low-key in tone, the Red Sox observed a moment of silence for the victims of the bombings and the campus police officer killed Thursday night. They also honored the first responders who, at considerable personal risk, came to the aid of the hundreds hurt in Monday's blast, as well as those who in four days' time identified and apprehended the terrorist brothers responsible.
Security was tight at Fenway.
A SWAT team member with a German shepherd stood guard at the doorway to the tunnel leading to visitors' dugout about 2½ hours before game time. A man in military fatigues checked all of the Royals' 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 much as a decade.
Across town, the Bruins got underway against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the TD Garden at 12:30.
At the TD Garden earlier Saturday morning, both the Bruins and Penguins were wearing "Boston Strong" black and gold T-shirts, which fans can purchase with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the OneFund.
"Clearly we were all watching for days and being here yesterday and being in the hotel, being inside certainly became a part of the situation and part of what the city of Boston was going through," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think although we weren't a part of it, the celebration outside as a city and as a people last night, and just feel like it's a great opportunity to play a game today with the city of Boston and not just against the Bruins but with the city and with the Bruins." During warm-ups, the Bruins wore state police, Boston PD and Watertown PD hats, while the Penguins wore "617" patches on their sweaters, for Boston's area code.
Prior to the national anthem of the Penguins' 3-2 win, a moment of silence was held as pictures of the victims -- Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi and Sean Collier -- were shown on the board and their names announced to the applause of the fans.
Then, similar to Wednesday's game, a "Boston Strong" themed video was shown on the video board to the music of Phillip Phillips' "Home," only this time it was updated with images of first responders and citizens after the second bombing suspect was caught Friday in Watertown.
Again, like Wednesday, anthem singer Rene Rancourt begin to sing, then lowered the microphone and motioned for the fans to take over.
When the lights came up, chants of "USA, USA, USA" began.
Also, the Celtics wore "Boston Stands As One" patches on their uniforms and special warm-up shirts for Saturday's playoff opener against the Knicks in New York. It also was an emotional scene Wednesday when the Bruins played their first game following the bombings. "It's like the other night [Wednesday] where you get back to some normalcy, but today everybody's still remembering the people that were hurt but it'll be a little less heavy feeling with the fact that so many people got to witness live heroism last night," Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said. "I think everybody was pretty proud of the authorities, so I expect it to not be as heavy but a little more celebratory."
The Red Sox announced Friday's game will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday. The regularly scheduled game will take place at 1:35 p.m., with the nightcap at 7 p.m.
Beyond the Red Sox and Bruins, the case impacted other sporting activities planned for the weekend.
Boston College canceled all home athletic events for Saturday, including the annual spring football game.
The suspension of Amtrak train service forced the New England Revolution of MLS to change plans and travel by bus Friday morning for their game against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night at Red Bull Stadium in Harrison, N.J. The teams opened the game with a tribute to Boston. The introductory song was switched from the Red Bulls Anthem to "Dirty Water," a song with Boston ties as a banner in the home cheering section was read "New York Stands With Boston." Information from ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald, ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and The Associated Press was used in this report.