by Ryan Adams

America has many sporting events that bring together not just athletes from our own country, but many around the world.  For well over a century, the Boston Marathon has been probably the greatest of all those events.  On Monday afternoon, however, a day that has been so meaningful, so important, and so peaceful to not just the city of Boston but the country - on Patriots' Day of all days - the Boston Marathon experienced tragedy unlike any since 9/11 as two bombs went off just near the finish line, a block from each other.
The Rays had just finished a three-game series at Fenway, losing 3-2 to the Red Sox after coming from behind twice in a game that they desperately needed to win in order to start gaining some confidence back in the clubhouse.  Instead, they fell to 4-8 on the year, matching their worst start in franchise history.  But none of that would matter as the events unfolded in downtown Boston.  None of the stats, none of the records, standings, or blown calls by umpires would mean anything.  Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times was on with Rick Stroud and Tom Jones on Tuesday morning to talk about the experience he and the team had as they made their way out of the city to head to Baltimore.
"The team watched a little bit of the news in the clubhouse and saw what was going on," Topkin said.  "Their travel director still had things under control.  They still were able to leave the stadium.  They were supposed to have a police escort with their bus, that obviously was canceled but their bus got them out."
Despite the airport closing later in the day due to the attacks, Topkin said the team made it in time and everyone was safe and ready for their trip to Baltimore to face the Orioles.
"They were actually able to get on their plane and they left before the airport was closed," said Topkin.  "So they were, in all sense and purposes, ya know, as safe and in good of hands as they could be."
The reality sunk in for Topkin and the team seeing as just days before they'd all arrived in Boston.  The team walked down the very same street and some in the same area where the bombs took place.
"Just about every one of use walked through the vicinity if not that exact area where the bombs went off," said Topkin.
For the entire conversation with Mark Topkin on The Sports Page, click the iHeart player below: