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Booed at Fenway

John Kerry's pitch to Red Sox Nation was a bust. But the real problem is that he's trying to be someone he's not.

12:00 PM, Jul 26, 2004 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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Boston

FOR AS LONG as politicians have been throwing out first pitches, fans have been booing them. So it was no surprise last night when the crowd at Fenway Park let Kerry have it. As soon as it was announced that Kerry would be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, the Boston faithful began booing.

This was somewhat surprising, since many people in the stands were carrying posters with "Team Kerry" and "For a Stronger America: Kerry-Edwards." After the initial wave of booing, some applause mixed in. Then Kerry threw a weak pitch from the grass in front of the mound. It bounced over home plate. The booing came back in force.

All was then quiet on the Kerry front until the 7th inning, when a woman waving a "Team Kerry" poster was put on the Jumbo-tron. The crowd instantly, and vigorously, booed again. Team Kerry shouldn't be overly concerned with the boo birds, but they might be a little worried about how uncomfortable Kerry seems with middle-America events, like sports.

Kerry has long claimed allegiance to the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. Yet last week, ESPN's Peter Gammons reported that, Kerry claimed to be a big fan of "Manny Ortez." Having fused the names of Boston's two biggest sluggers, Kerry then compounded the error by correcting himself and saying he meant "David Ortez." No word on what either Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz thought of the slip up.

But so what if Kerry is too much of a blue-blood to be into sports? Teresa Heinz Kerry is no sports devotee either, but she's up-front about it. In 2002, when the Pittsburgh Steelers met the Patriots in the NFL playoffs, much was made of the rivalry in the Kerry household.

Teresa, it turns out, is a life-long Steelers fan. But she happily admits that "I don't know football from Cheyenne." In an interview with the Boston Herald in January 2002, she went so far as to describe how much she dislikes the place where her beloved Steelers play--Heinz Field. "I think it's a terrible field," she said, adding, "I don't think it's a terrible stadium. I think it's a terribly built wind tunnel."

The week before the game, Teresa left one of the Steelers' trademark Terrible Towels on Kerry's favorite easy chair--a cute, low-grade prank.

In response, the Herald reported that "Kerry said he tried to get even by hauling his puffy Patriots parka out of the closet" when he took the couple's dog, Cim, for an after-dinner walk around Georgetown. Bet that showed her!

John Kerry should take a lesson from his wife. You don't have to be one-of-the-guys to be elected president. But it helps if you don't try to be someone you're not.

Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard.