October 14, 2013

On That Viral Red Sox Home Run Photo on the Boston Globe Cover (and What it Has to Do With the Marathon Bombing)

Boston s finest

To the extent American pride and patriotism has morphed from the battlefield (or the bloody school field) to the ball field, it’s no surprise Monday’s Red Sox/Boston Globe cover page has gone viral.

After taking an enormous emotional hit from the Boston Marathon Bombing, an attack on the city’s pride and security that also profoundly marred one of this sports-obsessed town’s most hallowed athletic institutions, how interesting this dramatic and quite funny photo would be framed by such a headline.

The title takes the image of Detroit’s Torii Hunter, completely upended as he futilely attempts to flag down a game-tying grand slam by Boston’s David Ortiz, and transfers the pride and accomplishment to the security officer. (You might recall the term and homage, Boston’s Finest, even codified at one point by a so-named police drama.) Although the officer does nothing but throw up his hands, same as the citizens behind him, the headline deigns to makes the event less about the boys in red and white than about the men in blue.

The web is full of images emblematic of how closely and deeply the Red Sox owned that Marathon attack, not just on behalf of the city but the security establishment as well.

Michael Dwyer Boston Bombing Red Sox AP

The overcoming of adversity (not to mention, the upending of the adversary, and then the chest-beating) relates not just to Boston but the country, baseball being America’s game.

There are so many metaphors and proverbs embedded in that image (punctuated, of course, with the fact it literally documents a resounding Boston comeback).  In America — at least the romanticized, Horatio Alger version — the photo is electric with “can do” spirit.  With coming out on top. With turning things around.

Torri Hunter upended Stan Grossfield Boston Globe

After the deep insult suffered last April, represented  by severed limbs so visually amplified in the local and national media, how fitting Mr. Hunter is cut in half. Reversing the blow with maximum adrenaline, what we also have here — Mr. Hunter “giving it up, too” — is a hail of V’s … as in Victory Day.

(photo 1 & 3: Stan Grossfeld/Boston Globe. photo 2: Michael Dwyer/AP caption: The Boston Red Sox line up during a tribute to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath, as an image of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier is displayed on the scoreboard, before a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Boston, Saturday, April 20, 2013.)

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Michael Shaw
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