CLEVELAND — As an organization, the Red Sox will find a way to help console the victims of Monday’s tragedy and honor the heroes. Plans are already being made within the offices on Yawkey Way.
But the players sitting in the visitor’s clubhouse at Progressive Field before Tuesday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians wanted to do something on their own to send the message back home that their minds were on more than a baseball game.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia asked Jonny Gomes if he had any ideas.
“I’ve got this,” Gomes said before sketching out an idea they took to clubhouse manager Tom McLaughlin.
A spare jersey was dug out of the equipment trunk. Before too long it had 617 across the back along with the words “Boston Strong.” The players hung it in the dugout.
“We’re not robots,” Gomes said after the Red Sox beat the Indians, 7-2, for their fourth straight win. “We live in the city. Those are our fans who were attacked.”
Mike Napoli doubled twice in a seven-run second inning and drove in three runs. But what he will remember about this game was every Cleveland player who reached first base asking him about the bombing.
“The umpires were asking, too. It was all everybody was talking about,” he said.
Dustin Pedroia was somber before and after the game, his usual chatter and braggadocio muted for a night. But he did his part, getting on base twice and scoring a run.
“We know a lot of people are back home watching, trying to maybe forget something, take their mind off what’s happening there,” he said. “We’re going to come out and play as hard as we can and we’ll be home in a couple of days.”