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Yankees honor Boston following tragic events at Boston Marathon

04/17/2013 1:57 AM ET
By Joe Auriemma

The Yankees honored Boston prior to Tuesday's game.(AP)
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the families who were affected by the bombings and our respect and admiration go out to the police, medical personnel and first responders who acted so heroically.  We stand united with the participants, volunteers, staff and spectators of the Boston Marathon and the people of Boston.

"While we do not comment on safety and security measures at Yankee Stadium, this has always been our top priority and the public can be assured we are working with all levels of law enforcement and our own security personnel to ensure a safe environment."

- New York Yankees

April 15. Jackie Robinson Day. Patriots Day in Boston. A day that was supposed to be a celebration of this country, great baseball at Fenway Park and a joyful exuberance for the runners that accomplished an unbelievable feat of finishing one of the most prestigious marathons in the entire world suddenly turned tragic.

The world watched in horror as the reports from the finish line of the Boston Marathon just kept getting more grim by the hour. The innocence of people celebrating life and love for one another was taken away in an instant; an instant that has already taken three precious lives and gruesomely injured over 100 more.

The Yankees may be bitter rivals with the Boston Red Sox, and the two cities may often snicker at each other about a supposed hatred towards one another, but beneath that hardened surface is love. A love of that hatred, a love of this country, and a mutual respect for one another that would never want to see a cowardly act be fallen on our rival citizens.

After 9/11, many Americans throughout this great land supported New Yorkers through one of, if not the toughest times, in our countries history, one of the loudest and proudest group of supporters was Bostonians. New Yorkers have reciprocated that love and support so far and the strength of these two rival cities will endure. It will rise up above cowardice and eventually time will heal all wounds enough to bring our support and love back full circle to a bitter rivalry. That's what makes this country and these two cities in particular so special.

Kevin Youkilis, who has now seen this rivalry from both sides, was a fixture in Boston for a huge portion of his career. He grew up in the Red Sox organization and gave that city through charities and his gutsy on field performances everything he had. That spirit is what is currently ingratiating himself to a whole new fan base that once considered him enemy number one.

Youkilis's ties to the people of Boston still run deep. He has many friends and family in the area, while his wife, Julie, the sister of Tom Brady, has her family still living in and around the city.

"We found out yesterday and just were pretty much sick to our stomach," Youkilis said. "Just a tragic day. You have thousands of people down there just really enjoying an amazing feat."

Youkilis went on to say, "Patriots Day is an amazing day. They bring out the big flag on the Green Monster. The marathon runners are going and the players are just kind of sitting there watching the guys finish and amazed how fast they run. The city, it's the most exciting day of the year in Boston. People are off work and they celebrate it and cheer on these runners. It's just such a positive atmosphere."

This event also hit very close to home for Joe Girardi, who has been traveling to Boston for many years to play or manage against the Red Sox. The team travels to Boston so much and the two cities are so close in proximity that it almost becomes a second home to players, coaches, managers and their families.

"I think when something's familiar to you it hits you different than if you've never been to a place," Girardi said. "We've been down that street many, many times whether it's on a bus or on foot. It's disturbing. It's really sad to see the things that go on this world. We just can't seem to all enjoy each other's presence and enjoy all the gifts God has given every country."

The new normal and this new world we live in is a scary place. It's events like this against innocent civilians that really opens your eyes to how vulnerable we still are to acts of terror. However, the one thing that the American people have shown throughout all of this is a resilience that only comes with strength. This is how you defeat people with no morals or decency.

The Yankees and Red Sox, New Yorkers and Bostonians may be bitter rivals, but we are all Americans and through this rivalry comes a mutual respect. Maybe one day we can get back to the old normal again; maybe we can one day live without that fear and when that day comes we'll love that rivalry all over again. 

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