Tuesday was one of those nights when normal felt a little bit off.
One day after leaving Boston within a couple hours of two bombs exploding that killed three people watching the Boston Marathon, the Boston Red Sox players and manager tried to bring perspective to a deed that had no perspective.
Count Indians manager Terry Francona, a former Boston resident, among those who were questioned as part of their public/civic/sports job.
Thing is, questions were asked of players and managers feeling the same sadness and helplessness of anyone who watched or read what happened. Somehow guys who mainly worry about lineup cards and curve balls were expected to bring wisdom and healing.
The main message from the Red Sox, who flew into Cleveland after the bombs exploded: Perhaps a game can provide momentary relief.
Boston third baseman Drew Middlebrooks posted on Twitter: “I can’t wait to put on my jersey today… I get to play for the strongest city out there.”
“This is a time we can use our platform for the right reasons,” Middlebrooks said, “and really show that we are here for the city and how much we love our city.”
That in effect was all anyone could do.
Middlebrooks admitted it was odd being away from Boston, but admitted Tuesday’s game might not have been played in Fenway Park, which is not far from the sight of the death and suffering. The Celtics and Bruins canceled games, but Middlebrooks was happy that the Red Sox could “get something on TV in Boston other than replays of the bombing.”
“I know going back to my experiences with cancer,” said Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, “I know the further you can get away from that (and) not think about it, it kind of eases your mind. Maybe we can do that by taking the field, easing some minds back in Boston and give them something other than news to watch for a couple hours.”
Indians manager Terry Francona started the week expecting to be asked about facing the team he managed for eight years, and was braced for the questions.
Instead he tried to talk about the pain in his former city.
“I’m not sure you have to have roots in Boston to care about that,” Francona said. “Obviously I do … It seems when you turn the TV on, or when you’re there, it’s hard for everybody.
“Whether it’s personal or not, it seems like it gets personal.”
Francona knows the importance of Patriots Day in Boston, how it’s a holiday and how the city celebrates. Francona said some of the video on TV that he saw showed the church where his daughter was married.
“It’s very unsettling,” he said. “For everybody.”
But even with the unease, the sadness, the suffering, the day after buses ran, coffee was brewed and games were played. In Boston and elsewhere. It just so happened that the Red Sox were spending their time in Cleveland doing their job.
The Indians started the game with a moment of silence, then shortly after played “Sweet Caroline,” a song the Red Sox use as their anthem late in games. It was just a song, but there was meaning behind it.
“I thought,” Francona said, “that was a very classy touch.”
It didn’t mean the heaviness didn’t weigh, just like it did after Newtown and Aurora, Colo., and other equally horrific events. Francona often says many are smarter than him, but summed up many feelings when he said: “It’s hard enough to be an adult. Can you imagine being a little kid growing up now? It’s hard.
“It just makes you feel bad.”