It hasn't been the best year for the New York Yankees. There were injuries stacked upon injuries. There was A-Rod and all the pound-your-head-against-the-wall drama that came with him. Then the Yankees didn't make the playoffs for the second time since 1995.
But you know who did? The Boston Red Sox, their bitter rivals, who then won the World Series while the Yankees look toward next season and the need to — gasp! — cut payroll.
If Yankees fans in New York City wanted one last smack in the face, it's this — Bill de Blasio, the city's newly elected mayor, is a Red Sox fan. He was born in Manhattan but raised in Cambridge, Mass., where he became a Red Sox fan back during the "Impossible Dream" days.
De Blasio isn't a fan in the shadows either. He has a "deep devotion" to the Sox and he fully acknowledges it. He talked about the Red Sox winning the World Series during a campaign stop in the Bronx. He ended his final debate by saying "Go Red Sox." It was the night before Game 6.
When election day came, it wasn't even close. De Blasio, a Democrat, won in a 49-point landslide over his Republican challenger Joe Lhota. Afterward, the New York Post, which endorsed Lhota, ran a piece by columnist Jonah Goldberg that began:
The new mayor is a Red Sox fan. According to the rules of the New York I grew up in, I’d expect to see the Hudson turn into a river of blood and Zabar’s to close due to a locust infestation before that happened.
Boston, surely, will continue to get a kick out of having a Red Sox fan in NYC's top office, not that it matters too much from an on-the-field baseball perspective. Not unless the mayor can make a law requiring Robinson Cano to re-sign with the Yankees for the major-league minimum.
But Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe explained why de Blasio not hiding his Red Sox fandom is important, and he's got a point:
That Bill de Blasio will be the next mayor of New York is not entirely surprising. That he’s a Red Sox fan? Now that’s surprising. It also tells you more than a little about the guy. He knows what it means to say Yaz, or Rico Petrocelli, or Jim Lonborg or “The Impossible Dream,” which was his campaign when it began months ago.
Seeking the mayoralty of New York, de Blasio could have done the easy thing and renounced his citizenship in Red Sox Nation. No one would begrudge him it and it would have made political sense. The man he is about to replace, Mike Bloomberg, of the Medford Bloombergs, did exactly that. Before he got elected, Bloomberg was a Red Sox fan. After he was elected mayor, he became a Yankees fan.
But de Blasio wouldn’t do it because it would be a lie. His son, the kid with the big Afro who helped turn the campaign around in a simple video, was raised a Sox fan. You don’t mess with that. Even Yankee fans respect that.
Maybe some do. Enough to get de Blasio elected, obviously. But baseball and politics do have this in common: Some people are so fanatical about the side they're on — be it Red Sox or Yankees, liberal or conservative — that you'll never change their mind. Right now there are people in two of those categories cursing Bill de Blasio.
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