DA-SOX! World Series triggers interest in Red Sox vanity plates

Saturday, January 8th 2005, 10:56 am
By: News On 6

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ New Englanders, almost as fond of their vanity license plates as they are of chowdah, lobstah and their beloved Boston Red Sox, are proclaiming pride in the World Series champions with car-bumper messages that drive the point home.

Some are a bit in-your-face, such as WE WIN and VCTORY. Others are a little more subtle, such as ESRUC04, a Mainer's way of spelling out the reverse of the Curse. Others elated to see the Bambino's hex lifted asked for CURSE-NO and 1918+RIP.

The Red Sox had barely completed their four-game World Series sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals on Oct. 27 before the orders started coming in to Maine's Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Maine officials said.

``Within hours of the final out in Game 4 of the World Series, requests for Red Sox-related vanity plates began to arrive,'' said then-Secretary of State Dan Gwadosky. The BMV received more than 60 requests by the time a Nov. 9 order was submitted for plate production.

``Dozens of additional requests have been received since. The total probably exceeds 100 at this point, and counting,'' said Gwadosky, whose term was to end Friday.

One motorist requested FENWAY, the venerable old ballpark that's home of the world champs. Variations from feminine Sox fanatics sought the monikers FNWYCHK, BSTN-GRL and SOX CHIK. Another request seeks to identify a Mainer as part of a larger realm, RDSXNTN, or Red Sox Nation for the uninitiated.

Joyce McKenney's plate, SXWIN04, turned out to be confusing to some non-sports fans, who ask why it says ``sex, wino, four,'' the Richmond, Maine, resident said.

``Sports people, they love it. They think it's awesome,'' said McKenney, who watches every Red Sox game on TV or listens on the radio. ``It's people who have no clue about sports who sit there and scratch their heads.''

Another Maine fan's request for OREDSOX reflects the sweet satisfaction of a series championship after a seemingly endless 86-year wait _ or maybe it's just an Irish spin on the team's name. Fans who don't want anyone to forget that sweep over St. Louis ordered SOXIN4 and REDSOX-4.

The rush for Red Sox vanity plates was not nearly so intense in their home state, where only eight were ordered after the series. Fans craving to identify with their heroes seemed more interested in buying state-issue specialty Red Sox plates that raise money for children's cancer research, said Rob Creedon, spokesman for the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

``Our numbers kind of spiked after the playoffs,'' said Creedon.

Massachusetts drivers mostly asked for a variation of the team's name, such as RZOXO4 and SAWX04, while one sought to display the number worn by pitcher Curt Schilling and asked for RDSX38.

A dozen Rhode Islanders asked for Red Sox vanity plates after the team's first World Series championship since 1918, said Nancy Tracy of the state's DMV. Some of their requests are RDSXFN, RDSX04, WE WIN and VCTORY.

Vermonters were ahead of the game and had snapped up the obvious slogans long before the Red Sox ended their long World Series drought, said Motor Vehicles Commissioner Bonnie Rutledge.

``We already had some vanity plates related to Red Sox but they've been out there for quite a while,'' said Rutledge. ``We've had none since they won.''

In Connecticut, there's no way to tell how many Sox fans paid extra for vanity plates commemorating the World Series champs, motor vehicle spokesman Bill Seymour said.

``There are too many possibilities that could be associated with that,'' Seymour said.

Connecticut motorists can display plates that benefit Long Island Sound, child safety and pet care, but the state has no official license plate honoring the Red Sox. Massachusetts has its Red Sox ``Jimmy Fund'' plates. In Maine, a bill submitted to the Legislature seeks a special Red Sox plate.

Officials in New Hampshire's motor vehicle agency didn't return phone calls. The Granite State is among those with an online service through which motorists can see if the vanity plates they choose are already taken.

Interest in Red Sox vanity plates isn't limited to New England. Nearly 100 New Yorkers who pledge no allegiance to the Yankees applied for vanity plates with messages about the Red Sox in the month after the World Series ended, the state's DMV said.

One Empire Stater who couldn't help but gloat after the Sox beat the Yankees for the pennant asked for BYENYY.

Maine gets more than 50,000 requests for information about vanity plates per month. Maine's Vanity Plate Check is one of more than 20 online services that can be accessed through the Secretary of State's Web page.