Republican presidential hopeful Rudoplh Giuliani has been taking heat of late for his recent claim that he’d spent as much time at Ground Zero as rescue workers. While the former Mayor of New York might’ve exaggerated his time spent watching other people shift through the wreckage, Slate’s Alex Koppelman explains it wasn’t as though Giuliani was doing nothing of great importance.
By our count, Giuliani spent about 58 hours at Yankees games or flying to them in the 40 days between Sept. 25 and Nov. 4, roughly twice as long as he spent at ground zero in the 90 days between Sept. 17 and Dec. 16. By his own standard, Giuliani was one of the Yankees more than he was one of the rescue workers.
During three postseason playoff series that began Oct. 10, 2001, and ended Nov. 4, 2001, Giuliani attended every one of the team’s home games, with the possible exception of the third game of the American League Championship Series, for which Salon could not confirm his attendance. According to Salon’s arithmetic, Giuliani spent about 33 hours in stadiums — this includes two World Series games he watched in Phoenix — during the Yankees’ 2001 postseason run, four hours more than he spent at ground zero.
Giuliani’s involvement with the team went far beyond a time commitment. He was, in fact, a visible, constant presence at the postseason games and, more than once, a participant in the team’s victory celebrations. Dave Johnson, executive sports editor of the Evansville Courier & Press, even wrote a column at the time bemoaning Giuliani’s omnipresence and saying, “If I didn’t already dislike the New York Yankees, I’d root against them just because of Rudolph Giuliani … Who anointed Rudy baseball’s new Super Fan?” The mayor was pulled on the field after the Yankees clinched both the American League Division Series and Championship Series, and spent time in the clubhouse after those victories as well.
Nor did Giuliani’s involvement start as some attempt to boost the city’s spirits after the tragedy it experienced. As the Village Voice’s Wayne Barrett has previously reported, Giuliani has four Yankees World Series rings from the time he was mayor; by contrast, Barrett reported, no mayor in any other city that’s won a championship since 1995 has any Series ring at all. Barrett also reported that Giuliani attended at least 20 of the Yankees regular season games each year he was mayor.
Giuliani also found time during the period studied by the Times to, for example, make a call to slugger Jason Giambi exhorting him to leave the A’s and sign with the Yankees. Giambi did, on Dec. 13. A day later, Giuliani introduced Giambi at City Hall, where, according to the Associated Press, Giambi said, “[Giuliani] was going to help me find somewhere to live, so I’m going to take him up on it.”
Though the above factoids are a tad embarrassing to the Giuliani campaign, Rudy should look at the bright side : at least his daughter isn’t looking for “random play” with a Red Sox fan.