Fenway Park first opened on April 20, 1912. It has endured plenty throughout its 101 years.
So, too, has the city in which it serves as a transcendent landmark. How fitting and symbolic, then, that baseball will return to Boston after everything the community has withstood this week.
Friday's contest between the Red Sox and Royals -- the first scheduled affair at Fenway since Monday's attacks at the Boston Marathon -- was postponed "to support the efforts of law enforcement officers" as they continued their hunt for the suspects. On Friday night, the massive law contingent arrested the second of two suspects believed to have carried out Monday's bombings at the finish line of the annual Patriots' Day race.
"You would much rather play, but there are bigger things at stake here than baseball," Royals infielder Elliot Johnson tweeted Friday.
So now, a day later than originally anticipated, the Red Sox will take the field after sweeping the Indians in Cleveland while the streets of their city remained empty and the inhabitants of their city remained on alert. Before doing so, Fenway will host a pregame ceremony at 1 p.m. that will be broadcast live on MLB.com and redsox.com. The game itself will shown free on MLB.TV, and on MLB Network.
"I think we feel a sense that we can contribute to a communal spirit and hopefully create a little bit of a diversion for those affected directly," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We're certainly not going to replace what happened, but I think maybe we have a way of helping get back to some sense of normalcy."
Monday's blasts claimed three lives and injured nearly 200. A momentary diversion between the foul lines should serve as a welcomed reprieve for a grieving town.
"It sounds stupid, because you don't really have much of an impact, but you just go and be with the city," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Baseball promotes healing for everybody. Don't ask me how. ... It just makes you feel better if you can go to a baseball game."
Players and teams around the league have offered an outpouring of support throughout the week. "Sweet Caroline" bellowed from the speakers in numerous ballparks and the Red Sox hung a jersey that read "BOSTON 617 STRONG" in their dugout.
Finally, those who have suffered and worried and agonized can band together in one of the city's -- and baseball's -- iconic venues, a place where two teams can attempt to provide a little bit of solace.
"It's going to be a special game -- definitely one to remember," said Clay Buchholz, who is slated to start Saturday's game. "I'm sort of at a loss for words for it. I'm going to try to keep my emotions under wraps as much as possible. Given the circumstances, it's going to be a day that's in pursuit of recovery for everyone who had to face losses."
Royals: Ace on the hill
• Right-hander James Shields, acquired during the offseason from Tampa Bay, returns to a familiar American League East ballpark Friday, when he starts at Fenway Park for the first time in a Royals uniform.
The righty, who lost despite going the distance last time out, is 2-9 with a 5.86 ERA in 11 career starts in Boston.
Red Sox: Ortiz expected to return
• The Red Sox's lineup should gain a little normalcy Saturday, as David Ortiz is expected to return to the designated-hitter spot following a right Achilles' injury that has kept him out since last August.
"To have his presence in the middle of the order certainly speaks for itself for the number of years and the success he's had," Farrell said. "I think he gives us the potential to lengthen our lineup even more."
• The beginning of the season couldn't be going much better for Buchholz, who is 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA. The right-hander fanned a career-high 11 batters in his last start and is 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA in three career starts against Kansas City.
• Red Sox starters enter Saturday's game having allowed three runs or fewer in all 14 contests this season.
• Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, who saw his hitting streak snap at 12 on Wednesday, is 3-for-4 with a homer against Buchholz.
• The Red Sox are 10-0 this season when scoring first.