By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
7:27 AM EDT, April 16, 2013
Before reading this, just know that there will be no mention of the Orioles' designated hitter slump in this blog post, no talk of any blown bubbles by Adam Jones or when Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman are coming to the big league club. So excuse me for digressing.
I was just walking down Boylston Street this past Wednesday, less than a block away from the exact spot where a city sidewalk turned into the site of tragedy during Monday’s Boston Marathon, one of this country’s premier sporting events.
The Orioles were in Boston last week, and one of the great things about this job is getting to go to some of this country’s greatest cities. And Boston is one of the best. It’s one of the most foot-friendly places we go -- Seattle might be the only other city that's comparable -- so it’s one of those places where I never get tired of walking around the place, from Faneuil Hall through Boston Common and through Copley Square. The sidewalks there are always full of energy that you rarely see elsewhere.
Now, it won't be the same.
Last week, you could tell that there was a buzz in the air about the upcoming race, with runners weaving through the streets, which already seemed to be packed with visitors from all over the world.
The best sporting events are all about the buildup. Anticipation is what fuels fans. That’s why we love Opening Day. It was a fun time to be there. I’m by no means a runner, but the unique spirit of competition encompassed within the Boston Marathon is hard to miss. It’s a mix of athleticism, endurance and will that any sports fan can admire.
A couple hours after arriving back in Baltimore following my train ride from New York, I stared at the haunting images on TV. The same sidewalks I walked on just days ago stained in ghastly shades of red -- people frantically running away from the action instead of through it.
Until now, sports have been spared from senseless acts of terror. Even in the days after 9/11, there seemed to be something about being inside the bricks of a stadium that made us all feel safe, maybe because in some ways, sports were distractions from the pain and they brought people together.
But in an event like the Boston Marathon, which takes place on public city blocks, how do you truly make an area like that secure? I’m not sure there was anything that could have been done in that atmosphere.
Stadiums are a little different. And now, you can expect added security at Camden Yards and other ballparks around the country. When the Orioles open a nine-game homestand tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays, who played in Boston on Monday, there will certainly be a stronger security presence.
Orioles vice president of communications Greg Bader said the team doesn’t discuss ballpark security measures in detail, but added that the team has been working with Major League Baseball and local authorities to increase security. We could expect to see tactical officers around Oriole Park tonight as a precaution.
And we should all be OK with that. The alternative presents a much higher price to pay.
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