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Colorado mentally eliminates Red Sox

Trevor Schaefer, 10, a Little Leaguer living in suburban Denver, pulled his team's dark blue sweatshirt halfway down his chest and abruptly stopped.

"Dad, I can't wear this anymore," he said, according to his father and coach, Chris Schaefer. "It's Red Sox."

The coach polled the other 10-year-olds on the Parkland Red Sox and discovered that they all wanted a new name. "The one thing we got was that they would rather be anybody but the Red Sox," Schaefer, 37, said yesterday by telephone.

Boston's resounding four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the World Series has unleashed a not-so-subtle tide of anti-Red Sox sentiment. Denver-based Frontier Airlines ran banner advertisements in both local newspapers that read: "Now you know why we don't fly to Boston."

"It was a way for us to throw our support behind the Rockies and in a tongue-and-check way say we've got their back," said Joe Hodas, a spokesman for Frontier, which sponsors the team and showed World Series games on seatback televisions during flights. When pressed, Hodas admitted that the airline stopped flying to Logan International Airport in 2002 because of gate constraints, scheduling issues, and high fuel prices, not the Red Sox.

A Rockies thank you rally yesterday in downtown Denver drew a crowd of up to 10,000. In a scene dominated by purple balloons, purple beads, purple hats, and the incessant waving of white rally towels, players and politicians shared a stage, taking turns thanking fans. Only Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper came close to mentioning Boston.

"Next year, we're going to have the parade," Hickenlooper said, alluding to the Red Sox rolling victory rally on Tuesday. "Next year, we're winning the World Series."

While disdain for Boston has grown, it hasn't reached "the Yankees caliber."

"That's taking it to another level," said Sarah McClean, spokeswoman for the Downtown Denver Partnership, which helped organize the rally. "But there is a little bit of wounded pride."

In suburban Parkland, BB's Bistro has offered a $200 gift certificate as a prize to the person who suggests the new name chosen by the Little Leaguers, who are looking to donate their Red Sox uniforms to an inner-city team in Boston, Schaefer said.

While the sweep was painful in Colorado, the coach acknowledged that Boston players showed his youngsters how to win with class.

"There was not one player on that team to hate," Schaefer said. "The only reason to hate them was because they kept getting hits off us."

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