Behind the Beantown beat
It doesn’t get more Americana than Patriots’ Day in Boston.
Today marks the civic holiday observed in Massachusetts and Maine, commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first of the Revolutionary War. Re-enactments can be found in all corners of Massachusetts, from the Lexington Green to the Old North Bridge in Cambridge and the retracing of Paul Revere’s ride.
As the keeper of such turning points in our nation’s history, it is only fitting that Boston is host to some of the most storied sports traditions on this very day, too. Marathon Monday (that’s the Boston Marathon, to you out-of-towners) is the oldest annual marathon in the country, while the Red Sox have played host to games on Patriots’ Day every year since 1959.
ESPNBoston.com is one of five local Web sites ESPN operates. April 13 marked the second anniversary of ESPN Local, which dates back to the launch of ESPNChicago.com and subsequent sites in Boston, Dallas, New York and Los Angeles.
ESPNBoston.com senior editor David Lefort shares his personal perspective on Patriots’ Day and why sports play such a big role in Boston:
FR: How does ESPNBoston.com decide who does what on Patriots’ Day? Is it the longest work day of the year, typically?
Lefort: The Marathon is a logistical challenge for us. Not only do we have to worry about pregame, in-game and postgame updates from Fenway Park, we’re dealing with a live marathon that we’re tracking as well.
We’re getting photos, video and text from both of them. By the time we’re able to catch our breath in the early evening, we’re usually getting ready for a Bruins or Celtics playoff game that’s going on that evening.
This year, we have Game 3 of the Bruins-Habs series on Marathon Monday. It’s a long day, for sure, but a fun one. It’s usually a day for takeout delivery to the office: breakfast, lunch and dinner!
FR: Marathon Monday and the Red Sox at Fenway have been traditional pastimes in the city on this day. Why do you think sports plays such a significant role?
Lefort: Sports are part of the fabric of Boston and Marathon Monday is probably the best example of that.
Ask any resident of Massachusetts what time the Sox game starts on Patriots Day’ and they’ll be able to tell you “11 a.m.” off the top of their heads, because that’s when it’s been played for as long as they can remember.
Besides looking for when the Yankees are coming to town, checking out the opponent for the Marathon Monday game is the first thing any Sox fan checks when the next season’s schedule comes out. And we’re not even taking into account the Celtics and Bruins, who often have playoff games on Marathon Monday.
I remember a few years ago the Bruins and Canadiens played a Game 7 of their playoff series on Patriots’ Day.
This day is a uniquely Boston tradition and sports are a big reason why. One of the most frequent questions runners ask to the fans cheering them on? “Hey, what’s the Sox score?”
FR: Patriots’ Day is unique in that it is only observed in Massachusetts and Maine. Being a longtime Bostonian, how do you commemorate the holiday as a local yourself?
Lefort: Patriots’ Day is a day off of work for most people in Massachusetts and is usually centered around three things: 1) Watching (or participating in) the Boston Marathon, 2) Watching the Red Sox in their annual morning game and 3) Getting together with family and friends for one of the first cookouts of the spring (not to mention the first three-day weekend of spring for anyone except, ahem, those of us in the sports media biz).