Yanks exec regrets heckling president

Updated: April 27, 2010, 9:40 PM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

BALTIMORE -- After Yankees assistant GM Jean Afterman heckled President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, she initially felt comfortable with what she had said, then she felt "tremendous remorse."

"Within a nanosecond, 'Oops,'" Afterman said.

As the ceremony ended she reached out to the president, as he shook hands with the Yankees, to tell him she voted for him. She also found one of his aides and asked the aide to tell the president, "I'm a huge supporter."

I'm a huge supporter of the president. I have supported him since he announced his presidency.

-- Yankees assistant GM
Jean Afterman

During the ceremony in the East Room of the White House, President Obama, who had just professed his love for the Chicago White Sox and made some jokes at the Yankees and other teams' expense, went to pick up the World Series trophy for a picture with Joe Girardi. On the dais, Afterman sat with the rest of the Yankees.

"Let him hold it," Afterman said loudly. "He may not get another chance again."

The president retorted, "And you wonder why the other teams don't root for you."

Afterman's concern was not over having a repartee with the president, it was that her comments would be misconstrued as "Republican," she said.

"I'm a huge supporter of the president," Afterman told reporters prior to Tuesday's Yankees-Orioles game. "I have supported him since he announced his presidency. I support virtually everything about his health plan. I just want to put that out there.

"One of his geniuses, one of his enormous talents is to make everyone feel comfortable and make you feel like you can engage what I like to think of as witty repartee with the leader of the free world."

Besides, Afterman said the president was the one who first brought up the White Sox's 2005 championship.

"I thought, 'He started it, right?'" Afterman said. "The leader of the free world started it with 2005."

Afterman, who is one of the highest ranking female executives in baseball, felt it was just an "ice-breaker," definitely not a "heckle" or anything like that.

"I think I heard someone say, 'Bark or shout,'" Afterman said. "He really made us feel so comfortable. I think his remarks were genuine because he is a huge White Sox fan."

She mentioned that White Sox GM Kenny Williams is a friend of her and the president, so she was hoping he would put in a good word for her before adding, "He certainly won't now."

Afterman said she felt bad after the president chided the Yankees.

"I was a little sorry that he said, 'You wonder why people don't root for you,' for that reason," Afterman said.

Afterman immediately tried to make amends. Now, she hopes she has.

Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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