David Ortiz: Emotions will run high

Red Sox

BOSTON -- Monday undoubtedly will be a day of mixed emotions for Boston.

With the 118th running of the Boston Marathon, the citywide shared triumph of nearly 36,000 runners will be competing against the haunting memory of last year's bombings, still fresh following Tuesday's one-year anniversary.

The Boston Red Sox will play their annual Patriots Day morning game, and they anticipate a charged atmosphere at Fenway Park.

"I think it's going to be very emotional," designated hitter David Ortiz said. "There's going to be happiness around, too, more than sadness because the way the city bounced back."

Ortiz and outfielder Jonny Gomes spoke Friday about the marathon before the Red Sox kicked off their four-game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles. Despite the early wake-up time following a nationally televised contest Sunday night, Gomes and Ortiz remained focused on the importance of Monday's game.

"I think we should keep on celebrating [Patriots Day] the way we have through the years," Ortiz said. "I know a lot of memories are going to be brought back to the table when it comes down to what happened [last year]. Patriots Day is one of the most beautiful days around here."

Last Patriots Day, the Red Sox walked off in the bottom of the ninth against the Tampa Bay Rays to seal a three-game series sweep. As the team made its way to Logan Airport for the flight to Cleveland, news of the bombings rattled players as they desperately tried to follow the horror taking place in their city.

Five emotional days later, the Red Sox returned to Fenway, with Ortiz taking the microphone on the field to deliver a stirring speech that offered a glimpse of how the city was handling the situation: strong on the outside, yet scared on the inside.

"I was scared," Ortiz said. "It was us, the citizens, the human beings, seeing the way everything was going down.

"The best thing I can tell you about everything was the way everybody got together and the way everybody fought back."

The Red Sox went on to fight their way to a World Series championship, bringing the trophy back to city and right to the marathon's finish line during their championship parade, courtesy of Gomes and now- Miami Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Gomes said that the moment was something he felt needed to be done in order to change the memory of what had occurred on that spot during the bombings.

"To be able to put somewhat of a Band-Aid and somewhat of a 360 mindset of that area was extremely important for the team and the city to where when you walk down to that finish line, you recognize that finish line as where the trophy was set, not where the bomb was set," he said.

On Monday, the finish line will again be recognized as a symbol of victory and perseverance, putting the images of last year's tragedy in the past and reclaiming a mindset that matches the resilient strides that the city made following last year's events.

"This is a rugged bunch and not an area to be messing with," Gomes said.

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