Emotions high in tribute to Boston Marathon bombing victims and Jackie Robinson

Mike Petraglia
April 15, 2015 - 9:08 am
Red Sox manager John Farrell has seen so many highs and lows over his two-plus years in Boston. Wednesday afternoon, on a perfect sun-splashed day at Fenway, he and everyone else at Fenway Park will take time to recall one of the tragic lows. At 2:49 p.m., the Red Sox and Nationals will stop what they're doing and pay tribute to the exact moment two years ago when hundreds of lives were permanently altered and devastated by the Boston Marathon bombings. "We're fortunate that we play in front of a fan base that is so in tune with every team," Farrell said. "The way they not only pay attention but react positive or negative. They're passionate. We as Red Sox are so fortunate to be a part of the fabric of this city and the connection that was even galvanized further two years ago, I think it's an extremely worthy pause in today's game, whatever that will be. Whether it's in the midst of an at-bat or between innings, wherever 2:49 falls on, I think we'll all pause at that moment and recall where we were at that specific moment." It is ironic that the same passion for unity and community will also share the stage with Major League Baseball's annual tribute to the day 68 years ago that Jackie Robinson broke the sport's color barrier. The effort today, according to Farrell is to expose more of the African-American community to the sport. "I think there are some initiatives being taken," Farrell said. "That's through the RBI program, for one. But I think we all recognize there are a tremendous amount of athletics that are migrating towards football and basketball. To create more space in the inner city is one possible way to do it. I think we have to continue to find ways to make our game appeal to young people across all walks of life. "I now this is a point of emphasis. I know it's a point of conversation in every winter meetings or any league meetings I've been involved with in the past. There's a growing concern our game doesn't reflect our society in its demographics. We'd like to think we can attract every good athlete from every walk of life." Could Mookie Betts be a model for those in the African-American community in Boston to follow? "I can only call on my own childhood upbringing. And that is when I watch someone on TV that I wanted to emulate, hopefully that's starting to resonate through New England and specifically, here in Boston. How our players and players in general can give back to the community, hopefully that's a way to draw greater connection to young African-Americans here in Boston."