Like half of Connecticut residents, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is a Yankee fan. But Friday he became an honorary Red Sox fan at a press conference announcing the release of a new Red Sox license plate.
Sam Kenney, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Red Sox, welcomed Malloy to Red Sox Nation with his own Red Sox jersey embroidered with his name on the back.
Malloy, a Boston College graduate, was on his best behavior Friday and put on the jersey during the press conference. He also noted that he didn’t wear a blue tie or a pinstripe suit. In all seriousness, Malloy said he comes from a family with divided baseball loyalties. His wife, Cathy, is from Massachusetts and is a Red Sox fan.
“I couldn’t be prouder to wear this shirt, this day,” Malloy quipped.
The rivalry of the two Major League Baseball teams is prominent in Connecticut, which geographically is sandwiched between Massachusetts and New York and has no professional sports team of its own.
According to an April 2012 Quinnipiac University Poll, Yankee fans top Red Sox fans 43 to 38 percent in Connecticut. Over the past decade of polling baseball fans, Yankees have always topped the Red Sox as Connecticut’s favorite team, except for 2008 when they split 41-40.
Malloy was joined at the press conference by members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and Reps. Joe Courtney and John Larson.
Murphy talked about how he went to his first Red Sox game at the age of 5. He said he used to represent Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District where there are more Yankees fans and it cost him thousands of votes over the years.
“But I’ve always said I’m willing to pander to lots of different political groups, just not Yankees fans,” Murphy joked.
He said the scholarship program that will be created out of the proceeds from the Red Sox license plate will help kids who won’t become baseball stars realize their college dreams.
The foundation still doesn’t know exactly how the money will be doled out to Connecticut public school students or what the criteria will be to receive it, but it will be modeled on a similar scholarship program in Boston and all the proceeds from Connecticut will benefit Connecticut students, Kennedy said.
The Red Sox Foundation has raised $50 million since 2002 for various charities in New England, Kennedy said.
The license plate program will be run by the Red Sox Foundation and the plates start at $115. Of that, $65 will to the Department of Motor Vehicles and the other $50 will help raise money for the Red Sox Foundation’s Connecticut Scholarship program. A total of 400 applicants must be received before the DMV will begin production of the new plates.
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Melody Currey said those interested in signing up need to contact RedSoxFoundation.org to complete the application form. She said the DMV will work with the foundation to distribute the license plates.
In order to obtain a plate, Currey said motorists must contact the foundation first. Then, if your vehicle is already registered in the state of Connecticut, the Red Sox Foundation plate will be mailed to you with instructions about how to return your old license plate. She said the governor doesn’t want people standing in line at the DMV.
Malloy joked the Red Sox fans may not want to stand in line with Yankee fans.
So when will there be a Yankees or Mets license plate?
Malloy said that’s up to those organizations. He said any charitable organization can seek approval for their own license plate in the state. This is the first professional sports team to receive one in Connecticut, which isn’t home to any professional sports teams.
There are a number of special interest license plates available in Connecticut.