March 24, 2005


Kids to Sox, Yankees: Take bitter out of rivalry (Lenny Megliola, March 23, 2005, Boston Herald)

The phone rang in the Merriam School office two weeks ago. The caller asked for Ed Kaufman or Mary Ann Brandt.

``Sorry,'' said secretary Diane Walsh, ``they're in class. Who's calling? Terry Francona? No really, who's calling?''

Then again, Walsh thought, knowing what was going on at the school, it just might be the Red Sox manager. Walsh put the caller on hold and dialed up Brandt's sixth-grade class. ``I think you'd better take this one,'' Walsh said.

Brandt did. It was Francona. ``I said to the kids, `Don't scream, but do you know who's on the line? Terry Francona!' They screamed.''

The manager of the World Champions was impressed with the kids' goal for the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry to lighten up a little bit. ``Francona said, `You know, this is a fantastic idea, but I hate to disappoint you. I can't make these guys do this,' '' Brandt recalls.

Do what? Have the Red Sox and Yankees shake hands, that's what.

Brandt, a passionate Red Sox fan, and Kaufman, a lifelong Yankees fan, had become concerned just how bitter the rivalry between the two teams had become and the effects it might have on kids.

``The name-calling, the fighting, the jumping into bullpens,'' said Kaufman, who teaches fifth grade. He and Brandt started discussing the nastiness of the two teams with their students. Some figured that's just who the Red Sox and Yankees are: teams that hate each other.

But what about the kids? Didn't they shake hands after games? They started thinking. ``If we can do it, why can't they?'' said Kaufman.

And so began Project Handshake. The classes wrote to Francona, Jason Varitek, Red Sox owner John Henry, general manager Theo Epstein, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, manager Joe Torre, general manager Brian Cashman and Derek Jeter with one request: that the two teams shake hands before or after the game on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium April 3, or when the two teams met April 11 in the Fenway Park opener.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 24, 2005 7:59 AM

The notion of the thuggish felon, General Von Steingrabber, behaving in a sportsmanlike fashion is beyond belief.

Posted by: bart at March 24, 2005 10:48 AM

Good for you, Kids.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 24, 2005 11:00 AM

Maybe Terry Francona can't do it, but I'll bet Bud Selig could. Or maybe John McCain.

Posted by: ratbert at March 24, 2005 11:51 AM

Here's hoping one of the Yankees is wearing a handbuzzer.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 24, 2005 12:22 PM

I'm all for civility among sports teams but this smacks of the nonsense coming from the Kumbaya community.

Posted by: AWW at March 24, 2005 12:27 PM

The instigators of this are not baseball fans. These are the kind of people who play metric football and don't keep score because it'll hurt someone's feelings.

There's nothing wrong with hating the Yankees. It's a team that wants to be hated, and does whatever it can to keep that hatred alive. Even most Yankee fans would agree, or else they'd also care about the Mets.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 24, 2005 12:44 PM


Yep, we Yankee fans revel in it.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 24, 2005 12:56 PM


Well, the original assignment was to write all the world's leaders to get them to agree to abolish war, but the kids thought that was too easy and asked for a tougher challenge.

Posted by: Peter B at March 24, 2005 3:05 PM

They heard what happened to that girl who wrote Andropov. Samantha something?

Posted by: oj at March 24, 2005 3:11 PM



Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 24, 2005 7:22 PM

Like AWW I cheer for civility but I'm leery of Kumbaya folks who forget that when it comes to sports someone's got to win and someone's got to lose.

I'm a Red Sox fan who grew up in Massachusetts but am a New Yorker who has lived in Manhattan for almost 30 years. I've got lots of Yankee fan friends who bust my chops, and I've finally had a chance to bust theirs. We know it's only sports wrapped with allegiance and fun. The problem comes when you get the screamers and the louts. The Sox don't suck. The Yankees don't suck. Well, maybe I need to think about the latter some more.

Posted by: Jim Siegel at March 24, 2005 8:32 PM

Unbelievable that time was spent on this feel-goody project.

Posted by: at March 25, 2005 1:16 PM
« Y2K ON WHEELS: | Main | HORRIFIED BY LIFE (via The Other Brother): »