President Obama needled baseball fans in Boston Monday night — and his attempt at humor at the expense of rabid local Red Sox partisans didn’t exactly hit it out of the park.
After some niceties at an evening fundraiser at Symphony Hall, Mr. Obama told the crowd: “Boston, I just want to thank you for Youkilis” — a reference to longtime Boston star Kevin Youkilis who was traded Sunday to Mr. Obama’s favorite team, the Chicago White Sox.
“I’m just saying, he’s going to have to change the color of his socks,” the president said laughing.
The crowd at first seemed shocked, laughing and crying out, “Ohhhh” before a portion of the crowd booed.
“I didn’t think I was going to get any boos out of here,” Mr. Obama said. “I should not have brought up baseball. I understand, my mistake — you got to know your crowd.”
But GOP rival Mitt Romney’s spokeswoman Andrea Saul pounced on the exchange Tuesday morning, arguing Mr. Obama had committed a grave baseball error by poking fun at the city’s loss of a beloved player.
“In baseball, an error is a misplay or fumble, as when a player drops a pop fly or lets a ground ball through his legs,” Ms. Saul wrote in an email to reporters. “Last night in Boston, President Obama went to the heart of Red Sox Nation and committed an error by taunting fans over the Kevin Youkilis [trade] to the Chicago White Sox.”
But the White House said the president’s attempt at sports humor would benefit from an instant replay. When reporters asked White House spokesman Jay Carney about the boos during the Air Force One trip to Atlanta Tuesday morning, Mr. Carney argued that the Red Sox fans in the audience Monday night were actually shouting, “Yoouuk!” in homage to their departing all-star.