Speak no ill of ‘Boston Strong’

It’s a fine line the Boston Red Sox have been walking in recent months with its emphasis on “Boston Strong,” the rallying cry of the city in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.

To be sure, the Red Sox have been careful — very careful — not to exploit the bombing in the way some veterans feel the military emphasis by sports teams has exploited the service of soldiers.

Last night’s seventh-inning stretch at Game 2 of the World Series, however, was pitch perfect.

But check the end of the video when the Red Sox announcer congratulates baseball, the players’ union, and the licensing arm of Major League Baseball for its donations to the fund to help the victims of the bombing. That crossed the line. That was baseball saying “look at us.”

The connection between the marathon tragedy and the success of the Red Sox is too tantalizing for media to ignore.

“Red Sox and bombing-scarred Boston rise together,” the Boston Globe headlined its story.

“A world championship isn’t going to undo anything that’s happened, but it’s good for the family to be living through something that’s an exciting time in our community,” said Larry Marchese, spokesman for the Richard family of Dorchester, whose younger son was killed in the bombing and whose daughter lost a leg.

Kevin White, who suffered injuries along with his mother, and whose father lost part of a leg, said the Sox’ success has factored little in the family’s individual recoveries, but he has noticed the way the city has responded.

Before a game in September against the Yankees, Sydney, Celeste, and Kevin Corcoran prepared to deliver a first pitch. Sydney and Celeste Corcoran were badly injured.

“We think it is a great thing for the recovery of the city as it continues to show the resilience and character of the city as well as the personality and attitude of the team,” he said.

It’s a lovely theme, and one that can wear thin if exploited. Boston Strong isn’t about the Red Sox or the World Series. It’s about people who lost lives and limbs, Dan Seitz at UPROXX — a Boston resident — points out in a criticism of tweets about the game with a #BostonStrong hashtag.

Look, I’m not throwing stones in the sense of bad taste here: I practically live in a glass doghouse. And I’m not singling out Boston sports fandom in this respect because any sports team has legions of fans with more ardor than tact. It’s not like 2001 didn’t see a dozen Never Forget signs at Yankees games.

But there is something profoundly troubling about a phrase meant to symbolize the death and painful injury of nearly three hundred people being turned, in six months, into a meaningless slogan thrown at basic civic pride, and social media being a tool to do so.

A couple of morons in the stands can be dismissed; thousands of people doing it means the phrase is sucked dry of all its meaning. It’s especially galling because Bostonians, sports fans and non-sports-fans alike, got up in arms over similar callous douchebaggery. So trivializing pain and death is only bad when the opposing team does it?

It’s a delicate point to make. The Boston Globe’s Wesley Lowery found that out the hard way during last night’s ceremony.

For his observation, Lowery got a taste of another long-time institution in Boston — racism.