Let's face it, our country has been drowning in tragedy and scandal. We've been shaken
to the core by senseless deaths and destruction. Since mid-December there has been Newton,
Lance Armstrong, Benghazi cover-up, Boston bombings, Cleveland abduction case, and
the Oklahoma twister. Throw in Manti' Teo, Rutgers, and the trial of Jodie Arias and
you have a lot of Americans who feel so dirty, they are in need of a good lather, rinse and
On Tuesday night, there was a moment that put a stick of deodorant on the United States
and made it feel fresh again. Jeff Bauman and Carlos Arredondo, who are forever linked
because of the Boston Marathon bombings, threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park before
the Red Sox-Phillies game.
This was a spine-tingling, raise every goose bump on your body moment. It gave me chills,
and I'm not afraid to admit, a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. Bauman, who lost both
his legs in the bombings, delivered a fastball to Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and triumphantly yelled out, "that was a strike", with a mile-wide grin on his face. It was more than
a Kodak moment. This rinsed a lot of the ugliness that we've seen and felt over the last five
months. The pure joy on Bauman's face made a lot of our pain and problems disappear, albeit
the world. And Bauman probably was. Throwing the first pitch in the cathedral of baseball in
front of 38,000 fans and a regional television audience that absolutely adores you, could be
the highlight of his young life.
Bauman is a symbol of courage, perseverance, hope, and happiness. Yes, happiness. The guy
had his legs blown off and he has the strength to forge ahead with a laugh and a big smile on
his face. How great was that pitch? How great was that moment?
The man who saved Bauman's life, was also honored by the Red Sox and all of New England.
Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat, who like Bauman, also lost two of something very
precious to him: his two boys. One was killed fighting in Iraq, the other took his own life
because he couldn't deal with the pain of losing his brother.
Arredondo was at the marathon watching a few runners who were honoring his sons. He had
a smile on his face, but the pain, must still have been unbearable for Arredondo to endure.
When the bombs went off, it would have been easy for him to scramble for safety like thousands
of others did. Nobody can blame anybody for a decision they make during sheer panic and
terror. While many people were thinking when the next bomb would go off, Arredondo was thinking about whose life he could help save.
After running down and removing some fencing from a section near the finish line, Arredondo found Bauman with his legs almost completely shredded. If you've seen the pictures, you
know just how gruesome it was. Rick Pitino and the Louisville basketball team turned away
from the compound fracture of the leg of Kevin Ware suffered during the NCAA tournament.
They didn't rush to the aid of a fallen teammate, instead, they waited for someone else to help
him when he was writhing in mind-numbing pain.
Arredondo must have been beyond horrified when he saw the carnage on Boyleston street.
We all could understand if he froze, backed off, or even just ran away. That scene was gruesome.
With death and terror in the air, Arredondo calmly applied tourniquets to what was left of Bauman's legs to help stop the bleeding.
He then put Bauman in a wheelchair and rushed him to the first aid tent. A photographer
snapped what has become an iconic picture, capturing both the fear and courage of two men
who didn't know if they were even going to live to see it. There was Arredondo holding the femoral artery in his hand and pinching it so Bauman wouldn't bleed out. Think about that. He
had a long artery in his hand while rushing Bauman to safety. The man is the definition of a hero.
As I've said many times before, the city of Boston should erect a statue depicting that scene
with Bauman and Arredondo next April before the 2014 Boston Marathon. It should be
placed right in the precise spot where the first bomb went off. Arredondo wheeling Bauman
with the artery in his hand is the defining moment of the Boston Marathon after the bombs
went off. It symbolizes everything that is right in our country: caring for others without worry
about what happens to yourself.
Tuesday's first pitch was just a small reward for Arrendando who should never have to buy
a meal or drink in Boston. He should become a cult hero as he defines what Boston Strong
is all about. Same goes for Bauman, because after all, the two are linked forever.
This was a great moment for me and it's something I won't soon forget. With all the negative
news suffocating our world, I had forgotten what a feel-good could do for the soul. Thank
you Jeff Bauman. Thank you Carlos Arredondo.