Those of you who get annoyed when I talk politics in this space: feel free to rev up your gas-powered computer and prepare your complaining email because I love the moments when politics and baseball intersect and today is one of those days: it’s Primary Day in New York City.
I’m proud to endorse Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate and the leading Democratic contender for mayor.
Putting his politics aside (disclosure: of which I am supportive), ever since I read “his confession” in the New York Times, I knew Billy-Ball loved Bill-de-Blasio.
Bill de Blasio, raised in Cambridge, Mass., is a Red Sox fan, tried and true, becoming a devotee at the ripe old age of 6.
I love that.
First and foremost, I love that de Blasio is a baseball fan.
As the Times article points out, Michael R. Bloomberg who has done much to help New York City, was raised in Medford, Mass. but he never had much of an interest in sports — he is known to sit through games, clearly bored — but he ran for office in 2001 implying a tepid allegiance to the Red Sox.
Mr. de Blasio’s family moved to Massachusetts when he was very young and he spent afternoons in the Fenway Park grandstands, captivated by players like Rico Petrocelli and Carlton Fisk. He hoped one day to become a professional baseball player.
Obviously, now in order to spend time at Fenway you need to be prepared to attend at night and come armed with Bloomberg money for tickets.
He recalled: “Everyone I knew was a Red Sox fan. Living up there in 1967 — the Impossible Dream season — that moment was incredibly compelling. I just naturally gravitated to the team. Nineteen seventy-five was arguably the greatest World Series of all time.”
Just listening to a candidate speak that way about the Series should stop even the crankiest Billy-Ball reader from complaining about this endorsement.
As the Times points out, Mr. de Blasio would be a rarity for NYC as mayors have been eager to exploit their ties to the hometown Yankees and Mets. And despite some grief from the rest of the mayor field of candidates, in an interview de Blasio said, “I have my loyalty to the team of my youth,” calling his tie to the Red Sox a “deep devotion.”
“The team that I grew up with was constantly the underdog but managed to prevail,” Mr. de Blasio said. “I don’t know any better lesson in life.”
I too love the underdog, but today I’m supporting the frontrunner; a great city needs a great baseball fan: Bill de Blasio.