Like Boston, baseball watches and waits
Friday's Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park postponed by lockdown, manhunt
As a massive manhunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings essentially shut down the city of Boston on Friday morning, all of America held its collective breath.
The Major League Baseball world was no different.
The Red Sox postponed their game against the Royals, which had been scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET at Fenway Park, as police continued their door-to-door dragnet search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old suspect in the terrorist attack. He was taken into custody by police Friday night.
Tsarnaev's 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died early Friday morning after a shootout with police in the city of Watertown, Mass., just five miles from Fenway. The city-wide lockdown was lifted just after 6 p.m. ET.
As Americans were glued to television coverage of the hunt for Tsarnaev and the greater Boston area was in lockdown mode, the Red Sox and Royals were in a holding pattern until the game was officially postponed just after 3 p.m. ET.
"We're locked in," Royals vice president of communications Mike Swanson said Friday morning from the team hotel. "They've told us not to leave the hotel and every place is closed right now."
Royals reliever Tim Collins, from nearby Worcester, described the feeling among the players holed up at the hotel.
"I think this is probably the safest place you can be because there are so many officers, FBI and stuff like that," Collins said. "Until they catch the guy, this is a pretty safe place to be. You really couldn't tell anything outside when we flew in, but once we got closer to the hotel, you could really see what was going on."
The Red Sox were still trying to process all that has gone on in their beloved home city since Monday afternoon, when a terrorist attack took place near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, shortly after the conclusion of the Red Sox's Patriots' Day game against the Rays. The Red Sox arrived back in Boston early Friday morning, following the finale of their three-game sweep of the Indians in Cleveland. The mood in the Red Sox's clubhouse all week was unsettled. Players and coaches on the club were relieved that none of their friends or family members were injured in the attacks, but they knew their return home would be a difficult one.
The team was expecting an emotional experience Friday night at Fenway, but that game -- like everything else in the greater Boston area on Friday -- became an impossibility, given the lockdown situation, in which residents in the area were urged to lock their homes and stay away from doors and windows. The NHL's Boston Bruins also postponed their home game Friday night.
The empty streets of a major American city made for a surreal scene.
"There's no way to describe it," Swanson said. "Usually you see some kind of foot traffic or car traffic and horns honking, but all you've got here is a periodic police siren. That's about it."
Some members of the Red Sox, meanwhile, took to Twitter to describe their feelings.
"I'm really worried about when they find this kid," third baseman Will Middlebrooks tweeted. "Probably isn't going down without a fight... #prayers"
A ballgame seemed extremely trivial by comparison.