Located less than 40 miles from New York City, in has long been a battleground for Yankee and Mets fans in the area. But when Stamford's favorite son was on Dec. 2, the dynamics of the sports bar quickly changed.
"We might just have to put a red line down the middle of the restaurant. Or a blue one, for that matter," said Dan Corsello, a manager of the café on Main Street.
Thanks to , the restaurant with his name on it, should attract a new crowd, one that's passionate about the Red Sox and not afraid to wear their loyalty on their sleeves and names of their favorite players on the back of their shirts.
"I'm a die-hard Red Sox fan," said Samantha Buzzeo, a waitress who was wearing a Dustin Pedroia Red Sox T-shirt in honor of the team's all-star second baseman. "This is definitely going to make things a lot more interesting around here."
The merchandise case has been emptied of anything Mets, the team Valentine once managed, and replaced with Red Sox gear autographed by the Stamford legend (who last year took a ). However, once the baseball season starts, no team will be favored over the other.
"Bobby wanted to have specially designed jerseys for us to wear," said waitress and longtime Yankees fan, Chloe Zuccaro. "We will wear shirts that have the logos of all three teams, the Sox, Yankees, and Mets on them. We're trying to stay as neutral as possible. Plus, I can't be wearing a Red Sox jersey all the time, that would be too painful."
Among the thousands of pictures, uniforms tops and autographed baseballs, Red Sox jerseys, flags and pictures of are now prominently displayed throughout the restaurant, "You have to do what the boss wants you to do," said Corsello. "But this is a sports bar for everybody and we're trying to stay neutral."
The Red Sox and Yankees meet for the first time this season on April 20 in Boston. That should be an interesting night at Bobby Valentine's Sports Gallery Cafe.