Our View: ‘A touch of class’

Posted: April 18, 2013

Though we acknowledge that sports are, at best, a diversion — albeit a wonderful one — it is also true that our games, and our teams, are wellsprings of passion, of emotion. They divide us and then, at times most needed, they can unite us, bring us together.

No finer example of the latter took place this week at New York’s Yankee Stadium. As most every sports fan knows, the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are blood rivals, baseball’s version of Athens and Sparta. But on Tuesday night, with Boston still reeling from the shock of Monday’s marathon bombings, New York’s most storied sports franchise reached out to the city of its bitter foe.

It was a simple gesture, but altogether beautiful — and, in the mind of one observer, “chilling.” In the middle of the third inning, Yankee management played “Sweet Caroline,” the Neil Diamond song that is a staple at Fenway Park (in much the same inexplicable manner as John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” is a hardy perennial at Baltimore’s Camden Yards). On the huge centerfield message board was a simple image — one of those memorial ribbons circling the logos of the two arch-rivals. And the message: “New York stands with Boston. Pray for Boston.”

New York was not alone among major-league cities in making such a heartfelt gesture, but, to Bostonians, it was the one that mattered most. Red Sox manager John Farrell termed it a “touch of class.”

Well said, and well done.