The show of support at Yankee Stadium for the city of Boston this past week reminded us yet again of the close connection, on many levels, between the two baseball teams and their communities.
The playing of "Sweet Caroline" -- the longtime Fenway Park sing-along anthem -- over the Stadium's speakers, as well as numerous video marquee displays featuring each club's logo side-by-side with "United We Stand" between them, were unprecedented events.
New York, obviously, can sympathize with Boston's pain.
For that reason, what better way to honor the next Patriots Day than by having Major League Baseball schedule the Yankees for that 11 a.m. game in 2014 as a chance to let these two historic baseball rivals acknowledge the meaning of that anniversary in a much greater sense.
It's something that's already under consideration. With MLB in the process of assembling the 2014 schedule -- the first rough draft is due at the end of next month -- there are numerous other factors to consider to make all the pieces fit. But Patriots Day annually is among the list of special requests that the Red Sox submit to MLB each year, as every club is permitted to do, and the next marathon Monday is going to be like none other in terms of its beyond-the-field significance.
Katy Feeney, an MLB vice president who oversees the scheduling, has to deal with myriad issues from all 30 clubs before the finished product is released in September. How the Yankees' first visit to Fenway Park might play into that, and if MLB is interested in making such a day happen, is undetermined at this point. "It's too early to say," Feeney said Thursday in a telephone interview.
The Yankees and Red Sox have played each other 33 times on Patriots Day, but not since 2004. The early start time makes lining teams up a tricky thing. Because of that, it has to be a wraparound series beginning Friday and ending Monday, with the four games best suited for a division matchup.
In the big picture, of course, which team the Red Sox face that morning is hardly the most important thing for the anniversary of that tragic event. Neither is a sporting event, for that matter. But as we've seen, these games transcend the uniforms and appear to play a role in the healing process. Or at the very least, help in some way.
Mike Piazza's home run at Shea Stadium in the first game back after 9/11 is an iconic event that New Yorkers still hold dear in their memories more than a decade later -- and will forever. The same holds true for the Yankees' postseason push to Game 7 of the World Series, which ended in November after the running of the NYC marathon earlier that same day.
These are only notable threads woven into the fabric of recovery, but every little bit helps. Wednesday night in Boston, the Bruins -- as the Mets did in 2001 -- played the first sporting event in their city since the terrorist attack. As anticipated, it was an emotionally charged evening at TD Garden, pushed to a higher level by the capacity crowd of 17,565, which turned the national anthem into a viral-video phenomenon after taking the lead from singer Rene Rancourt.
The Red Sox, however, have always been a partner in the Patriots Day festivities, a spring party on the third Monday of April that feels like a rebirth for the city after a long winter. It will have a different feeling to it now. But when dealing with difficult times, it always helps to have someone close by who understands what you're going through.