CLEVELAND — The televisions in the clubhouse were on CNN this afternoon, not ESPN or some silly movie, which is usually the case. There was no music playing, either.
The mood here in Cleveland was somber, just as it is back home. None of the Red Sox are from Boston, but they’re part of the fabric of the city, and Monday’s events hit them hard.
The Sox were getting on the team bus Monday when they learned of the news. It came initially from a phone call placed to Will Middlebrooks from his father.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” said Middlebrooks. “But my dad was like, ‘Will, this is serious.’
“It was just shocking. We’ve all walked on that sidewalk or had dinner in those restaurants. Our families and friends, too.”
No Red Sox employees were injured, team officials said.
Jon Lester was angry.
“Whoever did this, make them realize that we don’t take kindly to things like that,” he said. “We have to be together, united, and stand up to this and show these people that this isn’t going to break us.”
Lester, who has spent his entire career with the Sox, said knowing that area of the city so well made the attack especially unsettling.
“It’s weird,” he said. “You see these things, it’s like movies. For it to hit home like this, to be on that sidewalk plenty of times, eaten down at those restaurants plenty of times, it hits right at home. It’s a scary deal.
“But you can’t live in fear. You have to keep doing what you’re doing and not let these people ruin our lives.”
Dustin Pedroia, who always has so much to say, was sparse with his words and spoke in a quiet tone. He lives maybe a mile from the site of the bombings with his wife and two young sons.
“I was there actually the day before,” said Pedroia. “You can’t even describe how you feel. All of us, man, that bus side was silent. It’s still hard to put together.”
Pedroia said he takes pride in Boston and playing for the Sox.
“It’s as tough a city out there,” he said. “When we put our uniform on, it’ll be that much more special every day.”
The Sox are optimistic that baseball can somehow give people a diversion, however brief.
“Hope that it takes their mind off the situation for a second,” Pedroia said. “What’s going on there is the worst. I still can’t put it all together.
“It’s tough … it’s tough to deal with, man.”