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Connecticut Sox fans can sport their pride on their cars

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy was excited on Friday for all of his residents, who can now have a Red Sox logo on their license plate.

Just don't expect him to be first in line.

Malloy, a Yankees fan, and several other of the state's dignitaries joined Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy in a lunchtime unveiling of Connecticut's newest license plates, which are branded with the Red Sox insignia. A portion of the cost of the new plates will benefit the Red Sox Foundation and a new initiative aimed toward education in Connecticut similar to Red Sox Scholars, currently running in the Boston area.

Kennedy is well known for having grown up with former Sox general manager Theo Epstein in Brookline, Mass., close to Fenway Park, but Kennedy also has roots in Connecticut.

"It's particularly rewarding for me," said Kennedy, who made the two-hour drive to Hartford on a slushy day. "I'm truly a son of Connecticut. My dad grew up in Sherman, and my mom grew up in Danbury. I attended Trinity College right up the street, as did my brother, and my sister attended Connecticut College. So I love Connecticut."

Connecticut has full New England membership, but it's also a part of the New York City-centered Tri-State Area. That makes it a battleground for Red Sox and Yankees fans and, to a lesser extent, Mets fans.

Good-natured about his fandom during the entire news conference, Malloy cited his own household as one that's split between the Yanks and Sox. His wife is from Needham, Mass.

"Even in my house in Hartford, we have a Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan," Malloy said. "So we actually pretty closely mirror the breakout in the state of Connecticut, which is about 51.2 percent Yankee fans, [with] the rest being Red Sox fans. Now, I don't want to beat up on you, but that number used to be the other way. It just so happens that when I became governor, it swung. Listen, there couldn't be an organization with a better track record of giving back to the community."

Gov. Malloy was joined by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney and John Larson, as well as the state's house majority leader, Joe Aresimowicz; state Sen. Rob Kane; and motor vehicles commissioner Melody Currey.

Regular plates cost $115, $50 of which goes directly to the Red Sox Foundation. The remaining $65 covers production costs. Vanity plates with the Sox logo are also available, at a higher cost.

"The program is still being put together," Kennedy said, "but the intention is to create a scholarship fund similar to the Red Sox Scholars program in Boston, where public-school children are the ... recipients of these funds. Our foundation leadership will work on that."

Some Red Sox players are Connecticut residents, including Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey. The two offered their support after the Newtown tragedy, for which Malloy is grateful.

"Professional athletes have really stepped forward to try to be helpful to the families, from Red Sox Nation to the Yankees, the Jets and the Giants," Malloy said. "It's been pretty spectacular. These are good people who are trying to do the best they can to help others recovering."

Those interested in the plates should visit redsoxfoundation.org, as the process starts with the foundation, not the DMV. A minimum of 400 applicants is required before the plates can begin to be processed.

Once the application is complete, plates will be mailed. There's no need to stand on line at the DMV, as is the case with most other plates.

"The reason we don't want people standing in line is [that] there's going to be a lot of Yankees fans in the same line," Malloy joked.

As for Yankees and Mets fans in Connecticut, they're out of luck -- for the moment. If either club reaches out, Malloy said, the state would listen.

"That's all up to the Yankees, to tell you the truth," Malloy said. "I can assure you, we would treat them fairly in our state. We would certainly welcome them if they wanted to do something like this. So far they have not expressed an interest. ... We were more than happy to do this, but if the Yankees want to do it, or for that matter, if the Mets want to do it, we'll invite both."

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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