It was as good a Patriots Day, as good a Marathon day, as any, dry and seasonably warm but not hot like last year. The buzz was great. While the runners climbed Heartbreak Hill, the Red Sox were locked in another white-knuckle duel with the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. The only thing missing was Lou Reed crooning “Perfect Day” in the background.
The winners and the elite runners had long ago finished, when in the Fens, at shortly after 2 p.m., Mike Napoli kissed a ball off The Green Monster in the bottom of the ninth, allowing Dustin Pedroia to scamper all the way home from first base, giving the Red Sox a walk-off win.
Many of those jubilant Sox fans had walked down through Kenmore Square toward the Back Bay to watch the Marathon.
Some of them had just got to the finish line when the first bomb went off, shortly before 3 p.m.
In an instant, a perfect day had morphed into something viscerally evil.