Presidential hopeful throws out first pitch

Originally Published: July 25, 2004
Associated Press

BOSTON -- John Kerry made a surprise appearance at Sunday night's game between the Red Sox and Yankees, bouncing the ceremonial first pitch as he made an early arrival in the city where Democratic delegates were gathering to nominate him for president.

Bostonians showed their resentment for the Democratic National Convention that has locked down their city by greeting their hometown senator with a mixed chorus of boos and cheers. Kerry kept smiling as he threw out a pitch to a soldier home from Iraq -- could catch it.

"It's great to be back in Boston for a game like this," Kerry said afterward. "Couldn't miss it."

Kerry arranged for his flight between the battleground states of Ohio and Florida to be diverted to Boston, where he had not been scheduled to arrive until Wednesday evening. He said he had planned the trip in secret about a week ago.

"The idea of missing a Yankees-Red Sox series right before a convention week was not acceptable, so we changed the policy," Kerry said.

Kerry threw out the first pitch to Spec. Will Pumyea, 23, a military police officer in the Massachusetts National Guard from Woburn, who had just returned from Iraq and who also had previously served in Afghanistan.

Kerry then watched the game from the owners' box with his wife, his two daughters, Pumyea, former Sen. John Glenn of Ohio, Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner, and Katie Couric, the co-anchor of NBC's "Today" show who is dating Werner.

Fans attending the game Sunday night did not have to go through metal detectors, which is the normal procedure for anyone attending an event with the Democratic presidential candidate. At Fenway Park, supporters distributed signs reading, "Sox Fans for Kerry."

Asked in the clubhouse before the game which team he would root for, Kerry said: "I've got to win New York, but I do want the Red Sox to win."

Kerry planned to fly to Florida on Sunday night and resume his schedule.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press