After cop is slain, a rivalry is set aside

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Boston and New York don’t care for each other. There may be no greater rivalry on the planet than the one between the two cities.

When NYPD officer Miosotis Familia was assassinated on July 5, her friends in the department were ready to cancel the outing to Boston’s Fenway Park that she and the others in the 46th Precinct had planned to watch the Yankees play the Red Sox. After all, her funeral was just last week.

But some cops in Massachusetts said they should come and her friends said she would’ve wanted her colleagues to enjoy a good ballgame, the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen writes today.

There are times for rivalry. This was not one of those times.

When the bus carrying 55 cops from the 46th Precinct pulled onto the Massachusetts Turnpike in Sturbridge Sunday afternoon, a State Police escort was waiting for them. For the next 60 miles into Boston, Arias and the other New York cops looked out the windows and shook their heads.

On almost every overpass they went under, police vehicles flashed their blue lights, firefighters stood at attention, EMS workers stood by their ambulances. First responders from small towns showing respect.

“It was overwhelming,” Arias said. “We had people crying on the bus.”

At Fenway, Officer Joey Ayala was given the honor of spray-painting home plate before the game and then shouting, “Play Ball!”. He’s the one who shot and killed Familia’s killer.

The Red Sox won the game, splitting the series with the Yankees. There’s a pennant race on. But in the moment, that much ballyhooed rivalry meant nothing. Just as it meant nothing after 9/11, when Boston cops and firefighters showed up in Lower Manhattan. As it meant nothing after the Marathon was bombed and NYPD officers drove a food truck up to feed first responders in the Back Bay.

The bus full of groggy cops pulled up in front of the Four-Six in the Bronx at 4 a.m. Monday. Ed Arias got off the bus with only one regret.

“I’m a die-hard Yankees fan,” he said, “and now I can never say anything bad about Boston again.”