Security in Boston tonight for Game 1 of the 2013 MLB World Series will be tight, according to officials, as the city gets ready to host its first major event since the Boston Marathon bombings last April.
City officials urged all Bostonians to act like responsible and respectable fans.
"Let's show the nation why we're a first-class city on the field and off the field," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said at a city hall news conference Tuesday.
Behind the scenes, Boston police and Menino have been prepping for Game 1 since the Red Sox clinched the American League pennant over the Detroit Tigers last Saturday at the legendary Fenway Park. Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey asked all fans to leave backpacks at home even though they are not prohibited inside Fenway Park.
"If you want to make the chief of police happy, please leave your backpack at home," Linskey said.
Linskey said there would be an "enhanced" police presence patrolling the streets around the ballpark for the first two games of the series. More officers will be brought in to work if a series-clinching game is necessary next Wednesday or Thursday.
"Please help us to keep you safe, and don't allow anyone to tarnish the image of Boston Strong," Linskey said, using the phrase that resonated after the April 15 bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured 264.
Game 1 starting pitcher Jon Lester said the World Series gives the city a sense of hope.
"It makes people forget. At the same time, we'll be respectful about it. But if we can take those people's minds off their injuries, their suffering, then that's our job. It's what we've got to do," the two-time All-Star said.
The Red Sox have become a source of inspiration since the bombings, much like the New York Yankees in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks as they marched toward the World Series.
"They've come from behind, and gone up against some challenges, and they've brought the team forward to the World Series, and I think that kind of parallels what the city has gone through these last couple of months," Linskey said of the 2013 Red Sox.
The team has been linked to the Boston Marathon bombing ever since Red Sox slugger David Ortiz coined the "Boston Strong" phrase at Fenway Park days after the bombing. It's become a rallying cry for all Bostonians.
"It doesn't say Red Sox on my jersey. It says Boston," Ortiz said April 20, six days after the bombings, before a packed stadium.
Boston, which finished last in the American League East division last season, won its division this year and will face off with the National League Champions St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams finished the season going 97–65, tying for the best record in baseball.
The Red Sox swept the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series for their first championship since 1918.