Three years ago today, April 20th 2013 was one of the most special regular season Red Sox games I can ever remember. It was their first home game after the bombings, the city had been in lockdown the day before, the whole region was shaken.
The Red Sox came out in home jerseys that said "Boston" instead of Red Sox and David Ortiz gave the Famous "This is our fucking city" speech. It was such a powerful moment. I know I talk about this all the time but it is honestly, to me, one of the most important days and games in Red Sox history.
As for the game itself, the Sox were losing 2-1 in the 8th when Daniel Nava hit a 3 run homer to give the Sox a 4-1 lead. They'd end up winning the game 4-2. That homer gave the Red Sox a big win on a very emotional day at Fenway Park, but it was the call by the great Don Orsillo (that still gives me goosebumps) truly special. It's moments like his homer the first home game after the bombings that make sports special and meaningful. The escape that game gave the city for a few hours can not be understated.
I love Daniel Nava. I don't think I've ever been more infatuated with a random Red Sox player in my many years as I fan as I have been with him. He wasn't a superstar, in fact he was sort of just a role guy but I fell in love with him as a player.
I remember in 2010 the day after I graduated high school he made his major league debut for the Red Sox and hit a grand slam on the first pitch he ever saw as a major leaguer. Nava's story is amazing, won't go that deep into it, check it out if you have a chance, but basically he beat all the odds possible to make the majors. He was an absolute stud in 2013 hit .303 with .385 OBP both good for top 10 in the AL. Should have been all-star. Especially when you look at his first half splits. Not bad for a guy who had been designated for assignment in 2011.
John Farrell being the fucking awful manager he is didn't play him enough in the postseason and it nearly cost the Red Sox. Took a guy out of the line up who hit ,303 for a bum like Jonny Gomes and their offense went to shit, weird how that works. People forget that in their game one loss of the ALCS when they almost got no hit, it was Nava who broke up the no-no with a pinch hit single in the bottom of the 9th. Luckily the Red Sox still won the World Series but Nava still was way under appreciated for what he did in 2013. It was unsung players like him who stepped up big time for the Sox in the regular season to get them in that spot.
When the Red Sox finally cut ties with him in 2015, it hurt me deeply but I understood it had to be done. Now he's currently on the DL with the Angels but hitting .286 in the limited time he's played this season, no matter the uniform, I'll always love Daniel Nava.
His Home Run against the Royals on April 20th 2013 is one of my favorite moments in Red Sox history and I'll never forget it or him.