The author: Jon Chattman and Allie Tarantino
The vital stats: Triumph books, 215 pages, $16.95
The pitch: On ESPN’s outstanding coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing coverage this morning, former MLS New England Revolution soccer star and current ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman is explaining on “SportsCenter” how he couldn’t make it down to Boylston Street on Monday afternoon because he was sick with the stomach flu on Sunday night.
But what he saw live on local Boston TV made him even more sick to his stomach — now that there are three confirmed dead, more than 170 injured and more than a dozen of those in critical condition because of two explosives near the finish line of the iconic race.
“When you move to Boston (as he did in 2002), the first thing any Bostonian brags about is Patriot’s Day, Marathon Monday. The city shuts down, you go to the Red Sox game … walk around Fenway Park, mingle and at the end, make your way down Boylston Street and find your way to the finish line.
“What people don’t realize is that where that first explosion went, it’s the most populated area — it’s the coolest part to be around 2:30, 3 o’clock. … No one in their right mind would ever think something like this would happen.
“Unless you’ve been there before, it’s hard to explain how Marathon Monday is the definition of Boston. Until you’ve moved here, and hear people brag about it, you took pride on what you were doing Boston Marathon Monday. I’m lost for words.”
On pages 144-145 of “How the Red Sox Explain New England,” there’s a brief explanation of Patriot’s Day — a tribute to the anniversary of the first battles of the American Revolution in Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. It’s a state holiday in Massachusetts and Main since 1894. At Fenway, the start time of 11:05 a.m. is the one fixed date on the Sox’s schedule and the only morning game.
“So there you have it … the Red Sox are a franchise rich in hometown heroes, patriotism and a strong connection to student-athletes in New England,” the chapter concludes, having also listed the hundreds of players who have come from the region and been part of the fabric of the city.
And there you have some more context as to why such a heart-ripping event has taken place, and why we hope sports is one way to sort of provide a refuge and meeting space for those to try to sort things out.
The Red Sox are in Cleveland today — facing former manager Terry Francona — so expect more reaction.
For more comfort reading as a way to someway divert the pain from the news as it continues to come in from Boston, this small paperback may be worth finding.
There’s a lot of love and romance connected to Boston, through the relationship with the Red Sox in particular, and Fenway Park as a congregation hall. If Fenway is in the National Register of Historic Places, Red Sox fans are certifiable hysterical patrons of the place, even with stories now that the park celebrating its 101st year of existence may not reach a fully sold-out season.
A poignant story told about Red Sox loyalty comes from a piece on Brian Kiley, an Emmy Award-winning writer for Conan O’Brien who developed a self-depreciating style of humor based on his being a true Red Sox fan.
He moved his family to L.A. in 2009 when O’Brien replaced Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” and stayed here when O’Brien moved to the show to TBS.
He recalls the September, 2011 Red Sox implosion — the team just needed to play .333 ball to make the playoffs, but couldn’t do it, losing to Baltimore on the last day of the season (a Papelbon blown save).
In the middle of that Sox collapse, Riley’s father passed away. So people who would see him at the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank would offer him condolences.
“People would say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and I’d just say, ‘Thanks,’ But it turned out they weren’t even talking about my dad. They didn’t even know about my dad. They were talking about the Red Sox. They’d say, ‘I’m sorry, but there’s always next year.’ And I’d be like, ‘What? No there isn’t. He died.’ Or they’d say, ‘The pitching fell apart.’ Looking back it’s kind of funny.”
On a day when we can use a little Boston-related lift about resiliency and the ability to absorb pain, hopefully you can lean on this story from Kiley, who we saw perform at the Hermosa Beach Comedy and Magic Club recently. And if you happen to tell a Bostonian how sorry you are today, he or she will understand completely.