Playing the Field: When lengthy pre-game ceremonies are OK

The video screen in center field at Fenway Park shows images of the Boston Marathon bombing moments before survivor Jeff Bauman throws out the ceremonial first pitch. (Getty Images)
The video screen in center field at Fenway Park shows images of the Boston Marathon bombing moments before survivor Jeff Bauman throws out the ceremonial first pitch. (Getty Images)

You know that thing where the NBA or NHL or MLB tells you that a game is supposed to start at 8 p.m. but instead it starts at 8:12? That sucks, right?

It’s a real inconvenience, especially because you know that means that 12 minutes were just tacked on to your night and with the threat of overtime or extra innings, there’s an even greater chance that you’ll be late for work the next morning.

What goes on in those 12 minutes are typically this: networks trying to squeeze in big money commercials when they have everyone’s attention while inside the arenas there is typically just a lot of noise. Fireworks, a screaming PA announcer, a mini smoke show, a drawn-out national anthem.

Still, once in a great while, those extra few minutes matter.

Last night at Fenway Park, Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs in one of the blasts, and the man who saved him, Carlos Arredondo, threw out the ceremonial first pitch(es) prior to a Red Sox-Phillies game. The Red Sox catch a lot of flak for “overdoing” ceremonies but this one was right on the money. Goosebumps everywhere.

In another moving pre-game ceremony, the genesis of which is for entirely different reasons, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera threw out the first pitch at Citi Field, home of the Mets. It’s certainly something when a Mets fan cheers a Yankee, but Rivera has earned EVERYONE’S respect over his peerless 19-year career.

Here’s a goosebump moment that hasn’t happened yet, but I assume will. So there’s this dog on the internet named Ray Charles, right? He’s cute as hell by all standards (I’m not even a dog person, but click here for all the proof).

Here’s the thing about the aptly named Ray Charles … he’s blind. But he wants to drop the puck at a Bruins game and there’s an online petition going around supporting this budding internet darling. What a sight it would be for Ray to melt the hearts of 17,000 drunken, bearded men prior to Game 4 of the Bruins-Penguins series.

Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS


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