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Boston manhunt has A’s-Red Sox series up in air

Remember back in the 1989 Oakland-San Francisco World Series, baseball took a back seat to the Loma Prieta earthquake?

Something of the same is happening in Boston these days. The Red Sox game Friday night against Kansas City Royals was postponed with parts of Boston and is suburbs in lockdown while the authorities pursue a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

    According to sources, the game was postponed by the City of Boston and not by the Red Sox, which is not to say the Red Sox were caught unawares. But a Red Sox game at Fenway Park requires a heavy police presence, and for the moment all Boston area police are working 12 hour shifts daily while the pursuit of the bomber – and accomplices, if any.

So there are no police left to work at Fenway. And while only the first of the three-game series has been postponed, it doesn’t take much to see another game or two or three becoming of monumental insignificance in Boston the next few days.

This is important for the A’s because Oakland is scheduled to start a three-game series in Fenway Monday night.

Without a crystal ball, it’s possible that the situation will be resolved and baseball will proceed as scheduled on Monday. It’s also possible that it won’t. And it’s not clear what would happen then.

And, as A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Friday’s game in St. Petersburg against the Rays, baseball can’t be the focus just now.

“All I think about is hoping they get it done,’’ Melvin said of the pursuit of the suspect. “And then people don’t have to sit in their homes and worry.

“This is much more a people story than it is about us.’’

Melvin said he hasn’t been told anything about the A’s-Red Sox series, but in the wake of the first Royals-Red Sox game being postponed, it doesn’t take much to extrapolate the possibilities moving forward.

All afternoon the primary TV in the visiting clubhouse in Tropicana Field was tuned not to sports but to CNN and the pursuit of the suspect. First baseman Nate Freiman said he’d never seen a news story take over the clubhouse the way this one has.

Freiman, whose family lives close to the midway mark of the Boston Marathon, said he’d been in contact with his family, which is just barely outside the lockdown zone. They are staying put, Freiman said, even though they don’t have to.

“My dad (Len)’s office is in the lockdown area,’’ Freiman said. “He just didn’t go to work today.  One of his co-workers did and was locked down in the building all day.’’

Freiman said most of his extended family lives in the area and all are safe. For that he is eternally grateful. And he’s come to have a special appreciation for his home area.

“There really is a silver lining to all of this,’’ he said. “It may sound crazy, but the City of Boston is extremely well run and has all the resources it needs to catch this guy. What they’ve done through all this has been amazing.

“It’s nice to see heroes emerge through all of this in the first responders particularly. It’s brought out the good in people.’’

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.