Royals waited out Boston manhunt in hotel
BOSTON -- The Royals were in a lockdown at their downtown hotel during the hunt for a Boston Marathon bomber suspect and their scheduled Friday night game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park was postponed.
The Red Sox announced the postponement "to support the efforts of law enforcement officers." With the manhunt continuing, no announcement was made concerning a new date for the series opener.
Shortly before 8 p.m. CT, the entire area breathed a deep sigh of relief when it was announced that the suspect had been apprehended in Watertown, Mass.
The second game of the series is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET on Saturday.
"We're just planning on it until we hear different, that's all we can do," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
As the crisis continued throughout Friday, an eerie silence enveloped the metropolitan area as police concentrated on finding the fugitive who eluded them overnight after one officer and one suspect were killed. A city-wide lockdown was lifted after 6 p.m. ET.
"We're locked in, they've told us not to leave the hotel and every place is closed right now," said Royals vice president of communications Mike Swanson.
Yost, who had been at his home near Atlanta after the series there, checked into the hotel on Friday morning.
"We're going to do like everybody else," Yost said. "We're just waiting it out and seeing what happens. They're not opening the ballpark right now until the situation is resolved."
The streets around the Boston hotel, as well as Cambridge and communities across the Charles River, were virtually deserted as authorities warned people to stay indoors because of the danger.
"There's no way to describe it," Swanson said. "Usually you see some kind of foot traffic or car traffic and horns honking but all you've got here is a periodic police siren. That's about it."
Royals reliever Tim Collins, from nearby Worcester, Mass., was in his hotel room like his teammates.
"It's pretty scary," Collins said. "I've never been part of anything like this and, obviously, there are tons of people affected by it but you just have to wait and, hopefully, they get the guy."
His family and some friends had been due to go to Fenway Park for Friday night's game.
"They're about 40 minutes away so obviously they're not on lockdown. They're not going to be able to get into the city but they're not affected by this because they're so far away," Collins said.
Collins said the Royals' charter flight from Atlanta on Wednesday evening was calm despite the uncertainty over Monday's bombings not far from the hotel where the team stays.
"I think this is probably the safest place you can be because there are so many officers, FBI and stuff like that," Collins said. "Until they catch the guy, this is a pretty safe place to be. You really couldn't tell anything outside when we flew in but once we got closer to the hotel, you could really see what was going on."
He did not visit the site of the bombings at the marathon finish line during Thursday's off day.
"I like to stay in the hotel," Collins said. "It's probably the safest rather than going out to explore."
The Royals had set up a noon buffet on Friday at the hotel to feed the players as a group.
"You can't go out and get anything to eat so we're going to eat at the hotel and just see what happens," Yost said.
Left fielder Alex Gordon said that he hadn't left his room all morning but had been talking to teammates by phone. Their reaction?
"It's just crazy, that's all," he said.
Pitcher James Shields planned to join his teammates at the in-hotel lunch.
Shields noted that throughout baseball, players, teams and cities have expressed their support for Boston by the playing of the Red Sox theme "Sweet Caroline" and other heartfelt tributes.
"Baseball is a very tight family and we tend to stick together in times like this, no matter what," Shields said. "I think we've done a good job of staying a family that's close-knit. Obviously, playing that song 'Sweet Caroline' always reminds you of the city of Boston."
Meanwhile, like Boston, the nation and the world, the players were waiting.
"I'm just watching the news," Collins said. "We're locked down and not going to be able to go anywhere until further notice."