World of Sport

Baseball ‘fanatic’ Miliband speaks of nerves ahead of World Series finale

World of Sport

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Labour leader Ed Miliband might have been born in London and be an MP for Doncaster North but when it comes to sport his heart belongs over 3,000 miles away in Boston.

Indeed 'Red Ed' is such as fan of the Boston Red Sox baseball team that when listing his Desert Island selections in 2010 he said if he was stranded and could only look at one website it would be the Red Sox's homepage.

Boston are currently playing in the World Series and on Monday night they went 3-2 up in their best of seven series against the St Louis Cardinals.

One more victory would ensure them their third championship since 2004 but Miliband took to Twitter to admit that 'bitter experience' of following a team that went 86 years without a World Series win before their triumph in 2004 meant he was taking nothing for granted.

It might seem odd that Miliband – who describes himself as a 'lapsed' Leeds United football fan – might channel his sporting energy towards Boston but there is a logical explanation.

As he told the Labour Uncut website in 2010:

I lived in Boston when I was seven for a year, then more when I was twelve, I went there for a term of junior high school when my dad was teaching there. And that made me a fanatic.

And the Boston Red Sox have this amazing story because in some ways they bear some resemblance to the Labour Party because they won the world series in I think 1918, and they sold their most famous player Babe Ruth, and they didn’t win it again until 2004, they sold him to their arch-rivals the New York Yankees, who won something like nineteen world championships in between.

It was known as the curse of the Babe because they’d sold their most famous player. And what’s even more extraordinary about them is that they came very close to winning on a whole number of occasions in that 86 year period. So it’s an amazing story of disaster and then redemption. In a way it’s slightly less exciting being a Boston Red Sox fan since 2004, since they won, because the curse has been lifted. But nevertheless, I’m still a fanatic.

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Ed's brother David has also had experience in sport after serving as Sunderland's vice-chairman and as a non-executive director.

The ex-foreign secretary resigned from the board of the club over new head coach Paolo Di Canio's "past political statements".

Di Canio has previously described himself as "a fascist, not a racist", leaving Miliband to detach himself from the club altogether.

Other politicians to have claimed big support for specific clubs include Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who pledged their allegiances to Newcastle United and Raith Rovers respectively.

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