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Freedoms ring at Fenway, Boston Garden

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  April 20, 2013 03:17 PM

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(Note profane content - that you all heard on live TV.)

This day was about freedom.

People on the streets. Business as usual. A sold-out Garden. A crowd of some sort at Fenway Park. Bombing suspects dead or in custody.

There were multiple examples of free speech on display at Fenway Park and Boston Garden Saturday - ranging from the beautiful and inspirational to the extreme and overboard.

There were video tributes at both venues. A moving pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park honored the political leaders, law enforcement personnel, first-responders, medical providers, civilian heroes, BAA volunteers and marathoners.

There were tears, grateful applause, moments of silence.

Then there was David Ortiz.

Ortiz dropped the hydrogen bomb of F-bombs during the Red Sox' moving ceremony before Saturday's game against the Royals. He boldly told the world that his Boston was "our f--king city" and no one was going to tell it what to do.

"The shirt we wear today doesn't say Red Sox, it says 'Boston,'" Ortiz said. "This is our f--king city. And no one is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong."

In one sentence he wiped out what was left from a year-and-a-half of ill-will toward the Red Sox and cemented his stature among the city's sports legends.

And allowed a city and country to let it all out.

It felt f--king awesome!

His eloquence may have earned Ortiz another two-year contract extension.

$26 million? Make it $36 million.

Every Boston-character ever brought to life by Seth McFarlane, Matt Damon or Ben Affleck would be proud.

Time to replace "Wally" with "TED."

In a city where f-bombs flow freer than Dunkin' Donuts coffee - Ortiz dropped the biggest one of all time.

Picture the new signs at Logan: "Welcome To Boston. This Is "Our F--king City." Got That?"

They're also revising the list of all-time top 10 sports quotes - with this somewhere between Allen Iverson's dissertation on "practice" and Lee Elia's classic 1983 tirade.

Even the FCC got involved - although the remarks were not aired live on broadcast TV, just radio - and said it's all good. The FCC doesn't have any control over cable or satellite channels. Meanwhile, ESPN feed of the event was muted when Ortiz dropped the big one.

Before the Red Sox and Bruins games, the crowds at Fenway and the Garden solidified the newest Boston tradition - fans going all-in during the National Anthem. It was, despite what you have read, hardly acapella since the organist continued to play.

Rene Rancourt and the rest of the folks who sing the National Anthem in Boston can now retire.

There was Daniel Nava's three-run homer in the eighth - that elicited this great tag line from NESN's Don Orsillo: "Boston this is for you."

And even "Sweet Caroline" was a hit - thanks to Neil Diamond's live appearance at Fenway where he sang , lip-synced performed his trademark tune. Diamond flew in from California on his own (expense and without notice) and just asked if he could give back to Boston.

It was awkward. embarrassing and wonderfully inspirational - all in the same moment.

Class A Class.

The Red Sox won their seventh straight, 4-3, over the Royals.

Boston is back and so are the Red Sox.

Bruins announcer Jack Edwards pushed free-speech to its limits of non-profane sensibility during the Bruins' game. During the first period, he compared Pittsburgh's reformed thug-in-residence Matt Cooke - of the Marc Savard hit - to Sirhan Sirhan - of the Robert Kennedy assassination.

Here's the nut of what he said: "Nominating Cooke for the Masterton is about the equivalent of nominating Sirhan Sirhan as the prisoner of the year."

Another all-time top 10 sports quote - for the wrong reasons.

Funny, for about one second.

It was one of those crazy things you hear, but can't really believe you heard it, until you realize you did.

Misplaced passion after a long and extremely trying week.

As soon as Edwards realized his temporary insanity and failed attempt at hyperbole, he apologized via Twitter.

It takes class to recognize your mistake and publicly apologize for it before most others do. And it was undoubtedly sincere.

But that wasn't before - nor did it stop - the self-righteous internet from trying to storm the high ground. Interwebbers went after Edwards, as soon as many of them Googled Sirhan Sirhan.

One national post criticizing Edwards went so far as to link to Sirhan's "Wikipedia" page.

Nothing like going right to source, Woodward. Who said journalism was dead?

Edwards is bombastic, emotional and a Bruins' fan. That's why his broadcasts are so enjoyable on NESN. He also grew up in New Hampshire and is old enough to remember the death of Robert Kennedy. Does anyone honestly think he believes the hit Cooke put on Savard equates the death of the third Kennedy brother?


He gets a pass on this one, as would anyone after what he and the rest of Boston and those close to it have gone through in the past week.

Freedom to speak, freedom to offend, freedom to apologize, freedom to forgive.

Deal with it, haters.

Perhaps the Bruins should apologize for their play of late - even though they were haunted by Jarome Iginla - whose goal was the difference in Saturday's 3-2 loss.

Meanwhile, fans will continue to tune into Edwards and follow the Bruins - for as long as they play this spring.

And the Celtics, and Red Sox into the fall, and Patriots - via the draft this week and beyond.

Because sports matter. They give us reason to get happy, sad, glad and angry over things that don't matter.

Because they connect and unify us in a way that nothing else quite can.

Because this is Boston.

"Our F--king City."

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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