There is no bigger day in the city of Boston than Patriots' Day, as citizens come together to celebrate the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
It comes as no surprise that sports play a huge role in that celebration. As is customary, Patriots' Day is held on the third Monday in April, and it features both the Boston Marathon as well as an early Boston Red Sox game.
Patriots' Day was marred by a senseless act of terror last year, but the people of Boston have shown great resolve in moving forward. They will undoubtedly show up at the Boston Marathon and at Fenway Park in full force on Monday to demonstrate that they will not be deterred.
There is no question that Patriots' Day is of great importance in Boston on an annual basis, but this year's edition means so much more. As Bostonians prepare to further the Boston Strong movement, here is a closer look at the events that they will have an opportunity to enjoy.
Boston Marathon (Monday, April 21 at 8:50 a.m. ET)
The Boston Marathon has been one of the premier distance running events in the world for the past 118 years, and the sport's elite athletes will converge on Boston with hopes of crossing the finish line first. The men's and women's fields promise to be quite competitive, which makes it extremely difficult to predict a winner.
Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the event last year, although that fact seemed insignificant amid the chaos that would ultimately ensue. Even though Desisa came through with the accomplishment of a lifetime, his focus was on those impacted by the bombings.
According to Jere Longman of The New York Times, Desisa turned in his medal in support of the victims. That gesture didn't go unnoticed by the family of Martin Richard, an eight-year-old boy who tragically perished at the Boston Marathon last year, per family spokesman Larry Marchese:
[Desisa] accomplished something absolutely incredible and immediately thought of the victims and put his own success aside. Gestures like that have happened repeatedly by friends and strangers throughout the last year and have been an uplifting source of strength for all the families affected, the Richards included.
Desisa will run again in 2014, and he is certainly hopeful that he can come away victorious under much better circumstances.
As seen in this graphic courtesy of Chris Imai on Twitter, the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon will take runners all the way from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston:
The Boston Marathon Official Course Map pic.twitter.com/CESRrMxVsn— Chris Imai (@chrisimai) April 16, 2014
Particularly close attention will be paid to the finish line after the events of last year, but runners such as Jeff Glasbrenner are determined to help the Boston Marathon return to normalcy, according to the Associated Press:
"I'm not going to let a couple of bad guys steal my finish line." -Marathon runner Jeff Glasbrenner: http://t.co/EkqwOwN4Ui— The Associated Press (@AP) April 16, 2014
There is no question that the 2014 Boston Marathon will bring out plenty of emotion from those running and watching. People from around the world will be fixated on the event, and they will surely be inspired by Boston's perseverance.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox (Monday, April 21 at 11:05 a.m. ET)
The Boston Red Sox have struggled to live up to last year's World Series form thus far. They find themselves in last place in the American League East, and they have been quite anemic in several areas.
That is particularly true from an offensive perspective, according to former MLB player and current analyst Steve Lyons:
Red Sox and Dodger offense both scuffling. Can they get it together? #worldseries2014— Steve Lyons (@SteveLyons12) April 19, 2014
Which Patriots' Day event are you most looking forward to?
Boston is among the lowest-scoring teams in the league, which is difficult to fathom after what it was able to accomplish last season. However, perhaps Monday's game against the Baltimore Orioles will serve as a turning point for the Sox.
The Red Sox certainly rallied behind the city of Boston after Patriots' Day last year, and while their accomplishments on the field ultimately led to a World Series title, they were undoubtedly inspired by the city that supported them.
Designated hitter David Ortiz became the symbol for Boston's perseverance last year, and it can be argued that he is the most beloved person in the entire city. While the Red Sox will be focused on beating the Orioles, Big Papi is already thinking about how the atmosphere will feel on Patriots' Day, per Ken Powtak of the Associated Press:
Patriots' Day is one of the most beautiful days around here. I think Monday is going to be a day that everybody's going to focus as a citizen, focusing on the history of what happened before. I think it's going to be very emotional and there's going to be happiness around, too, more than sadness, because of the way this city bounced back. (...) The frustration that we had a year ago, people learned from that and people learned that this is the place to be because (of) how everybody got behind each other, supported each other and recovered from it.
The current projected pitching matchup for Monday will pit Boston's Clay Buchholz against Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen. Neither pitcher has performed particularly well this year, but Buchholz has a longer history of MLB success.
Buchholz doesn't stand a chance if the Red Sox's bats don't come alive, but it is bound to happen eventually. Based on the enormity of the day, don't be surprised if the Red Sox rise to the occasion just as they did so many times in 2013.
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