Boston, Massachusetts (CNN) – During a fund-raiser at Symphony Hall here on Monday night, President Barack Obama touched on a sore subject while joking with the crowd prior to diving into his prepared remarks.
“Boston, I just want to say thank you for Youkilis,” Obama said, referencing former Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis who was traded on Sunday to the Chicago White Sox – the president’s favorite baseball team.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
A mainstay on the infield in Boston’s Fenway Park for the past six years, Youkilis was a part of both the 2004 and 2007 World Series Championship teams. Despite his declining performance in recent years, Youk – as he was affectionately called – was one of the most popular players in town, and the crowd of nearly 2,000 Obama supporters responded to the president’s comment with resounding boos.
“I’m just saying he’s going to have to change the color of his sox,” Obama said with a chuckle. “I didn’t think I’d get any boos out of here. I guess I should not have brought up baseball. I understand, my mistake, my mistake. You gotta know your crowd.”
Despite appearing still a bit sensitive at the departure of one its beloved ball players, the crowd quickly forgave Obama with one woman even shouting, “We still love you.”
Perhaps it was just a bit too soon.
Update: While the Boston crowd seemed to let go of the Red Sox jab, Obama's comments seemed to catch fire among some of the team's most loyal fans the following day.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified the president's remark with reporters on Air Force One Tuesday and later tweeted: "Let's be clear: POTUS, a proud ChiSox fan, thanked Boston crowd for Youk. Some booed. Others, like me, cried "Yoooouk!" in sad memoriam."
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer also weighed in on Twitter, saying the president should be acknowledged for not pandering to local sports fans.
"Its telling that the general rx of the media is that failing to pander to the crowd on sports is a gaffe.True sports fans understand loyalty," he wrote.