Speaker Candidates Navigate New Red Sox Politics

Red Sox fans celebrate their victory in the 2013 World Series with a sign that reads "THIS IS OUR BLEEP CITY!" (Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty)
Red Sox fans celebrate their victory in the 2013 World Series with a sign that reads “THIS IS OUR BLEEP CITY!” (Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty)

For aspiring New York politicians, it’s harder to publicly slam the Red Sox these days.

At a candidates forum last night, the contenders for City Council speaker were forced to publicly declare their opinion of the Boston baseball team, which is despised by local sports fans but beloved by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who is expected to play an outsized role in the race.

Each candidate took a different route through the political minefield.

“I married into a Boston family; this is highly problematic for me,” admitted Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick, after a pause. “I root against them and I’m trying to bring my sons along.”

Others opted for humor. (Councilwoman Annabel Palma dodged by simply stating her support for the New York Yankees.)

“I’d have to consult my colleagues,”offered the Bronx’s Jimmy Vacca, jokingly repeating the answer many speaker hopefuls had given on a more substantive policy question earlier in the evening.

Manhattan Councilwoman Inez Dickens offered a deadpan retort. “Who is the Boston Red Sox?” she asked, drawing laughs.

Meanwhile, Queens’s Mark Weprin, who supports the New York Mets, offered a partial olive branch to Mr. de Blasio, saying he “rooted for the Boston Red Sox in the World Series” this year.

“Not 1986,” he quickly added, referencing the year his team faced off against Boston.

But it was Melissa Mark-Viverito, often seen as the candidate closest to the mayor-elect, who took the most direct swipe at Mr. de Blasio’s team.

Asked in an earlier question what her favorite baseball team was, she answered simply: “Not the Boston Red Sox.”

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