There will be no baseball at Fenway Park tonight, and Saturday's game is no certainty to be played either. (Getty Images)
The Red Sox announced at 3:00 Friday afternoon that the opening game of their weekend series against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park has been postponed "to support the efforts of law enforcement officers" attempting to capture a young man suspected of perpetrating Monday's Boston Marathon bombing.
The announcement was expected given that all of Boston has been in lockdown since early Friday morning following the events of Thursday night, when the at-large suspect and his brother and alleged Marathon bomber collaborator killed an MIT campus police officer, carjacked an SUV and then got into a shootout with city police which resulted in the death of the older brother and the non-lethal shooting of a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer.
As a result of those events, all public transportation both within and coming in and out of Boston was, and remains, suspended. In conjunction with the resulting search for the suspect and reports of possible improvised explosive devices, residents of the city were instructed to "shelter in place," meaning they were to remain in their homes with their doors and windows locked and curtains drawn and to stay away from doors and windows, opening up only for a uniformed members of the police or military, who were conducting a door-to-door search for the suspect.
Given those conditions, postponing the game was the only course of action to take. Indeed, the NHL's Boston Bruins, who were likewise scheduled to play a home game Friday night, also cancelled their game. Though those games would surely have provided a welcome distraction to the many Boston residents who have been asked to shelter in place, it simply wouldn't have been feasible to play them, less because of a fear of violence at the game than because of the impact of the lockdown and the logistics of staffing and populating the ballpark and arena.
The question now becomes when those teams will be able to return to action, as there has been some speculation that the search could continue into the weekend. The Red Sox are scheduled to play a 1:10 game on Saturday, and that game could be delayed or postponed as well. Before baseball returns to Boston, however, the citizens of the city need to be able to resume their lives.