Yellow jerseys for Marathon Monday and G4?

October 10th, 2021

BOSTON -- Every year on the third Monday of April, people around Boston come together to celebrate Patriots’ Day. The holiday is commemorated with the running of the Boston Marathon and a rare weekday morning baseball game at Fenway Park.

Though it takes place during the first few weeks of the regular season, “Marathon Monday” has always had the feel and energy of a playoff atmosphere. And this year, it will have the weight of that atmosphere behind it.

With the Boston Marathon rescheduled from April to Monday due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Red Sox forcing a Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Rays, the holiday will be commemorated with the marathon and a postseason baseball game.

"It's a special day for everybody here, I know that," manager Alex Cora said. "It's such a special day. I know it's different, of course, but things happen for a reason, right? If it's special early in the year, I think Monday with us playing in a playoff game and obviously what's going on during the day, I can't even imagine the feelings of the people here."

Though the marathon was pushed to October, the Red Sox still honored Patriots’ Day this season by wearing specially designed jerseys over the holiday weekend. In a series vs. the White Sox, Boston donned blue and yellow “City Connect” jerseys, designed by Nike as part of a collaboration to capture the personality of a team’s hometown. The Red Sox were one of seven clubs (joining the D-backs, Cubs, White Sox, Dodgers, Marlins and Giants) to wear the custom jerseys this season, with Nike planning to have one for each team by 2023.

The jerseys represent a particularly strong sense of community for the Red Sox, who along with the city adopted the “Boston Strong” motto after the 2013 marathon bombing that killed three people and injured hundreds of others. The sentiment behind the motto is something that’s quickly picked up by players upon joining the team, regardless of where they were in ‘13.

“I think when you come here, even someone like myself coming from New York, you just feel it in the city and the way people talk about what happened that day and how everyone just comes together,” said Red Sox communications manager Bryan Loor-Almonte, who also helped design the jerseys. “And that’s something that we wanted to do with this uniform, to unite communities. This is something that for us did the job. And I think that’s what it really comes to, the guys understand the meaning behind it and that’s why I think they embrace it as much as they do.”

The design marked a drastic shift in the classic colors of red, white and navy blue usually found in Boston’s clubhouse. The jerseys also put a twist on the club’s unmistakable font, with the “Boston” stencil on the front matching the font of the Marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street.

“Oh the guys loved it, I mean it was different,” Almonte said of the reaction within the clubhouse to the jerseys. “Because sometimes with baseball we get stuck in the whole tradition and, ‘We can’t change this and we can’t change that.' But we can still honor tradition and deviate a little from it, without completely doing something crazy.”

Though some fans disapproved of the jerseys at their initial unveiling, there was a shift in support after the Red Sox went 7-1 in the yellow and blue with two crucial wins over the Mariners and series wins against the Orioles and Mets. After winning seven straight, Boston lost to the Yankees, 8-3, on Sept. 24, ending its win streak and -- at least temporarily -- ending the jersey streak.

“I think in baseball, whenever you’re riding hot with any jersey, regardless of the color, I think every team just always wears them,” Almonte said. “I know the plan was to wear it during the Orioles series and the fact that we were stringing off those wins, and then they were like, ‘Let’s just keep wearing them throughout.' I think that it was a really special moment. Especially seeing how the community reacted to them and how everyone really embraced it. I think that really tells a story, and that’s what we wanted.”

Was one loss enough to taint the jersey superstition? Or will the Red Sox once again don the yellow and blue when they take the field on Monday night following the marathon?

“I don't know. We'll see,” Cora said. “It really doesn't matter. Whatever we wear that day, it's going to be a special day anyway, and we know what it means for everybody here. So we'll go out there and play the right way, and hopefully we'll make it more special.”