Kerry's band of Red Sox brothers

Published July 26, 2004 5:05AM (EDT)

Was John Kerry's surprise appearance at Sunday night's nationally televised Red Sox-Yankees game a stroke of political genius, or an uncharacteristic misstep for the carefully orchestrated Democratic campaign? Yes the game, which capped one of the more memorable series in the long-running blood feud between the two teams, promised massive media exposure on the eve of Kerry's coronation. But did Kerry risk alienating the affections of Yankee fans in New York? We caught up with Red Sox fan -- and former Clinton labor secretary -- Robert Reich on a Boston street corner during the early innings of the game to solicit his opinion.

"Red Sox fans are extremely loyal, and the rest of the country appreciates that loyalty," said Reich, an unsuccessful candidate for Massachusetts governor in 2002. "They know we're all masochists. They pity us."

That, of course, prompted the obvious question: Was Kerry risking being branded with the "L" word (loser, that is, not liberal) by bonding so publicly with the heartbreakers of Fenway?

But Reich deftly swatted that one away. "John Kerry stands up for the little guy," said the 4-foot-10 Reich. "For the underdog. Kerry and the Sox -- they're a perfect match."

By the way, the Red Sox won the game, beating their Bronx tormentors 9-6.

By David Talbot

David Talbot, the founder of Salon, is the author of New York Times bestsellers like "Brothers," "The Devil's Chessboard," and "Season of the Witch." His most recent book is "Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of My Stroke."

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