"Let's show this nation why we're a first-class city on the field and of the field," Boston Mayor Tom Menino said at a press conference dealing with the "enhanced" security measures the city is implementing for the World Series, which kicks off at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.
Police Superintendant-in-Chief Daniel Linskey said the city has been preparing since Saturday night, when the Red Sox's victory over the Detroit Tigers ensured their World Series appearance.
"If you want to make the chief of police happy, please leave your backpack at home," Linskey urged, reminding fans that backpacks aren't allowed in the park anyway.
"Please help us to keep you safe, and don't allow anyone to tarnish the image of Boston Strong," he said, invoking memories of the April 15 bombing with the phrase that has become a stand-in for the city's resilience in its aftermath.
The bombing has weighed heavily throughout the baseball season, which had just gotten underway when brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly set off two bombs near the finish line of the annual race, killing four and injuring dozens.
And the Red Sox's successful season, which was impressive by any measure but particularly in comparison to the adversity that marked the 2012 squad, has been more than just an entertaining pastime.
"It makes people forget," said Jon Lester, who will get the ball to pitch Game One for the Sox Wednesday night. "At the same time, we'll be respectful about it."
"If we can take those people's minds off their injuries, their suffering, then that's our job," Lester said. "It's what we've got to do."
After all, it was designated hitter David Ortiz who put a smile on many a Bostonian's face when he colorfully declared Boston "our [expletive] city" at a pre-game ceremony six days after the bombing, and coined the now-ubiquitous "Boston strong" phrase.
"It doesn't say Red Sox on my jersey, it says Boston," Ortiz said then. "This our [explitive] city! And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong! Thank you."
So while the Red Sox are hoping to give Boston something to celebrate this week, officials said they'll be ready to keep people safe.
Linksey said plenty of police will be on hand during the games Wednesday and Thursday. And should the series return to Boston for a Game Six or Seven, with a chance to clinch the championship at home, more officers will be on duty.
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