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ALEX BEAM

A Sox dispatch from the Evil Empire

NEW YORK -- I am sitting in the sumptuous, 20th-floor grand ballroom of the Yale Club, listening to grown men (and a few women) cursing ''those dirty bastards from New York . . . the Yankees, the Big Dig of overbudgeted sports enterprises." To this assembly, Randy Johnson is ''the Big Eunuch," George Steinbrenner is ''Furious George," and so on.

Welcome to the biannual meeting of the Benevolent Loyal Order of the Honorable Ancient Redsox Diehard Sufferers (BLOHARDS) of New York, a Red Sox booster group recruited mainly from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, although I did bump into a couple from Paris -- France, not Maine. Founded 38 years ago by Jim Powers, a publishing executive from Uxbridge now exiled to Weston, Conn., the B-Hards used to reune furtively in nondescript midtown bars. No longer. Now they swagger down Fifth Avenue in full Red Sox regalia, pack 150 people into their meetings, and talk of a dawning ''Red Sox millennium."

After years of enduring Yankee rule, the tristate Bosox fans fail utterly to contain their glee -- no, euphoria -- at the reversal of fortune that on Sunday landed the Carmine Hose three games atop the hated Bombers in the American League East, with just 20 games left to play. There is no sordid detail of Yankee excess they do not revel in. When Powers chortles from the podium that Yankees catcher Jorge Posada paints his fingernails -- to help the pitcher see his signs -- this seems like more information than I really want to know.

The Diehard Sufferers are animated by anti-Yankees fervor, and also by a wicked sense of humor. The group loudly boasts of its fifth column activities in New York, which have so far resulted in the election of a Medford native -- Michael Bloomberg -- as mayor, and the opening of a Boston-themed sports bar in the dark heart of the Rotten Apple. What other website would celebrate in a banner headline: ''Manhattanites Get Home Delivery of the Globe"?

At the website, blohards.com, Amherst-born hedge fund manager Peter Collery runs the naughty Name That Yankee nickname contest that gave us Furious George, the Big Eunuch, and Mariano ''the cLOSER" Rivera who, like Johnson, looked pretty potent in the weekend series. Collery also sells fiery red T-shirts bearing a portrait of a beret-wearing, Che Guevera-like Johnny Damon above the line: ''Resist Yankee Hegemony! Wage Relentless Struggle Against the Steinbrenner Clique! Strive to Emulate Comrade Johnny!"

It now hangs in my closet next to my blasphemous ''Johnny Saves" T-shirt from last season.

The website likewise publishes a miniature travel guide for displaced Bostonians, called ''Lifelines." One stop is Notaro, an East Side Italian restaurant where the genial former Red Sox hurler Jerry Casale puts in nightly appearances. Casale, who won 13 games for the Sox in 1959, is in the history books, albeit not for the reasons he might like. As a Los Angeles Angel, Casale surrendered Carl Yastrzemski's first major league home run. Also, he gave up Roger Maris's homer number 24 during Maris's 61-home-run year, 1961.

About 20 blocks uptown from Notaro, I found Boston (212), the Hub-themed sports bar that is the brainchild of Buzzards Bay native Charles Garland. Boston (212) is a movable feast currently occupying the bar section of the Caffe Buon Gusto, a small Italian restaurant. In addition to pulling together crowds for Red Sox games, Garland also hosts alumni events for Boston College, Boston University, and Dartmouth, where he attended business school.

Boston (212) knocks a dollar off drink costs for every RBI produced by a Boston homer. On Sunday, that proved to be a shrewd business decision. On Saturday, less so.

The final stop on the How-New-York-Can-Be-More-Like-Boston-Tour took me to Harrison's Tavern on the Upper West Side, co-owned by Ruben Roine, a Jamaica Plain transplant. A klatch of Boston cops was celebrating a bachelor party, and Sox colors were everywhere. Yet when the Yankee bats exploded in the sixth inning on Friday night, I heard loud cheers from the periphery of the packed bar. Roine explained to me that he loves the Sox but observes commercial neutrality to please all of his customers: ''The color of money is green."

Ah, New York.

Alex Beam is a Globe columnist. His e-dress is beam@globe.com.

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