Twelve things we've seen in the world of sports that we'd never -- or rarely -- seen before, because of the Boston Marathon bombing:
1. Fans sing the anthem
Rene Rancourt has been singing the National Anthem at Bruins games for 37 years, but he’d never taken the ice with as much on the line as there was on Wednesday. Sabres at Bruins. Boston’s first local sporting in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Rancourt could have made the moment about himself, but instead, he took a step back and let the moment belong to Boston. The result was one of the most memorable star-spangled performances ever, and what will be one of the defining scenes in Boston’s long road to recovery.
The end of the game was just as inspirational as the beginning, as the Bruins and Sabres came together at center ice to salute the sellout crowd.
2. Increased security
Monday’s attack and the lingering threat of more violence led to amped up security at the Garden on Wednesday, but Boston wasn’t the only city to experience increased security at sporting events. Extra police presence and bomb-sniffing dogs were on the scene at ballparks and arenas countrywide. And it’s only fair to assume that law enforcement will be especially present at upcoming major events, including the London Marathon (this Sunday), Kentucky Derby (May 3) and Indy 500 (May 26).
3. Front Page News
There were many different sports-themed tributes to Boston over this past week, but perhaps none as unique and touching than the front page of Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune sports section:
4. One Mile Short
It’s not uncommon for a handful of Marathon hopefuls to fall short in their quest to complete the Boston’s 26.2-mile course. Every year, you see runners drop out along the way due to injury, exhaustion or any number of other reasons. But this year, 5,742 runners failed to finish, for no other reason than they weren’t allowed. And while that one reason was obviously a very valid one, it still resulted in the largest number of DNF’s in the marathon’s history.
5. Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond’s Fenway anthem is played before the bottom of the eighth inning at every Red Sox home game. On Tuesday night, it was played at stadiums across the country, each time in tribute to Marathon tragedy.
They played it in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and Oakland, and sang it after "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at Wrigley.
6. Bronx Cheer
It’s one thing for the rest of the baseball world to join the Sweet Caroline party, it’s another thing — a far more meaningful thing — to hear the song played and performed at Yankee Stadium.
The Yanks paid tribute in the third inning of their Tuesday night game against the Diamondbacks.
"You think about that being a song that's a tradition there,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It's special to Fenway Park and the people of Boston. We're behind them. Put the baseball teams aside, we want to be there for them.”
7. Everyone Knows Your Name
They love their beer in Milwaukee, so maybe it should come as no surprise that the Brewers recognized the tragedy by paying tribute to Boston’s most famous bar.
The Brew Crew followed a pregame moment of silence by playing the theme song to “Cheers” and displaying a scoreboard message that read:
“To our friends in Boston, our thoughts are with you tonight."
8. Hosting the Home Team
The Indians played host to the Red Sox on the night after the bombing, and like others, recognized Boston with the playing of Sweet Caroline. But as the Sox wrapped their emotional 7-2 victory, Progressive Field took it a step further, blasting the Standell's “Dirty Water” from the speakers.
It’s a song that they play at Fenway after every Sox victory, and a song (“I love that dirty water . . . Boston, you’re my home!") that means more to the city than Sweet Caroline every could.
9. The 10th Man
One more notable gesture during Boston’s trip to Cleveland, was a grey Sox road jersey that the Indians posted in the visiting dugout.
The uniform number was Boston’s area code — 617 — and the name on the back read: "Boston Strong."
10. Northern Exposure
The Celtics’ Tuesday night home game against the Pacers was canceled, as Boston scrambled to make sense and restore order after the bombing. As a result, the Green’s first time back on the court in Toronto on Wednesday. They took the floor against the Raptors to the familiar tune of Sweet Caroline, wearing a black patch on their jerseys in honor of the victims. The teams met at center court for a moment of silence before the game, with the words "Tonight we are all Boston fans" displayed on the Jumbotron.
11. 81 is enough
One subplot to the Celtics canceling their game against the Pacers was the decision not to make it up. After all, there was less than a week left on the season, and the Eastern Conference playoff matchups were already set in stone. That left Boston with 81 games played, marking the first time they’ve played fewer than 82 in a non-lockout season since the NBA switched to the 82-game schedule in 1967.
12. Revere’s Ride
It’s only fitting that a guy named Revere played a role in paying tribute to one of the defining moments in Boston history.
In this case, it was Phillies center fielder Ben Revere, who made what is very likely the best catch of the young season against the Reds on Tuesday night. Making the catch even sweeter was the special message that Revere had taped on the outside of his glove: Pray for Boston.