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Red Sox happy to help their city after tragedy

Updated: May 17, 2014 6:46AM



The Boston Red Sox’ unexpected run to a World Series title provided some therapy for a city that was sent reeling by the Boston Marathon tragedy a year ago.

If you’re a baseball player in Boston, what was there to do? For the Red Sox, all they really could do was what they knew best — play baseball — and for six months after the bombing, they did it in a manner that probably gave some fragile minds and souls some needed breathing space during a worrisome time.

“We were really proud that we could be a part of it, help people out and try to get people through what happened last year,’’ Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli said Tuesday before Boston opened a three-game series against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. “We’re just happy to be here, help them get their minds off what happened last year for a couple of hours.’’

Napoli knows it was no great deed on his part to visit victims in hospitals. He said he felt fortunate to be in a position to do some good for people who were hurting by trying “to put a smile on their face and get their mind off it a little bit. We’re here to help. We’re part of the city and happy to do whatever we can.’’

White Sox players wore “Boston Strong” T-shirts before Tuesday night’s game (over their jerseys in 40-degree temperatures) and during a moment of silence and video tribute honoring the victims in which White Sox manager Robin Ventura said, “Not all of us live in Boston, but the spirit of Boston lives on in all of us.’’

When the Red Sox visited the White House on April 1, a tour earned by their World Series triumph, President Barack Obama said, “Obviously, all the wins were sweet for Red Sox fans, but I think for the nation as a whole, there was something about this particular squad that was special and will go down in history — not just because they went from worst [last place in 2012] to first, but because they symbolized the grit and the resilience of one of America’s iconic cities during one of its most difficult moments.’’

“We take our job very seriously,’’ catcher David Ross said, “but when you’re talking about playing for something bigger than the organization and baseball, playing for people that are losing limbs and looking for a bright spot in their day, and they watch the Red Sox play, it’s kind of a cool thing, a humbling thing. You feel a sense of responsibility.”

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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