Red Sox fans hate the Yankees. That’s a given.

But why?

It’s often not as simple as “They’re the Yankees” or “They buy the best players.”

After all, the Red Sox buy top players too.

The reasons for Sox fans’ hatred of the Yankees are at the core of what some call the greatest rivalry in sports. And the reasons are often very personal.

Those personal reasons for Yankee hatred and Red Sox love are the basis of a new flip book, “I Love the Red Sox/I Hate the Yankees” (Triumph, $14.95) by Jon Chattman, Allie Tarantino and Rich Tarantino.

The book, which came out in March, has a foreword by former Sox first baseman Kevin Millar and an afterword by former Sox pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee.

Being a flip book, the book has not only two titles, but two subtitles. For the “I Love the Red Sox” cover, it’s “Personal Stories about the World’s Greatest Team, Fans, and Traditions.” For the “I Hate the Yankees” cover, it’s “Personal Stories about the Absolute Worst Team, Fans, and Traditions.”

And being a flip book, one side is devoted to reasons people love their Red Sox, while the other half is devoted to reasons to hate, or at least look down upon, the Yankees.

The authors are Red Sox fans living in New York and southern Connecticut — Yankee country — so loving the Red Sox takes some effort.

Tarantino, 40, an elementary school teacher in New Rochelle, N.Y., took a few minutes recently to talk with us about the book.

 

Q: How did you become a Red Sox fan growing up in New York?

A: The way my family tells it, I was briefly a Yankees fan. I went to a ton of games (at Yankee Stadium).

As kids, we were at the stadium this one time, hollering for (Yankees outfielder) Lou Piniella to come over, but he basically ignored us. Then (Red Sox outfielder) Jim Rice walked over and signed a program for us. That was how it started.

 

Q: That was more than 30 years ago. What kept you a Sox fan?

A: Until they won the World Series, I think it was that spirit of perseverance.

Being a teacher, I’m drawn to kids who are down and out, who have a lot to overcome.

But traditionally, rooting for the Yankees has been possibly the easiest thing to do in sports, because they’ve won so much.

 

Q: Where did the idea for this book come from?

A: Rich and Jon had written a celebrity moustache book together. We all wanted to do something on baseball and pop culture, and we cast a wide net for publishers.

One of the ideas we had was Yankee haters living in New York. Triumph was doing these flips books, like “I Love Brett Favre/I Hate Brett Favre.” They told us they thought we’d be good for the Red Sox/Yankees one.

Q: What was Bill Lee like to work with?

A: He was just as advertised. We did a signing with him, and he was asked how much he hated the Yankees.

He took his wallet from his back pocket and pulled out of it a tattered old baseball card of (Yankee’s third baseman) Craig Nettles. He said, “I’ve got Craig Nettles resting against my backside for all eternity.”

(Note: Nettles tackled Lee from behind during a famed Yankees-Red Sox brawl in 1976. Lee was injured in the fight, and some say he was never the same pitcher again.)

 

Q: What are some of your favorite parts of the book?

A: We found this article that portrayed Lou Gehrig as this mama’s boy and a loner.

He used to go fishing and catch eels, and his mother would pickle them. And whenever one of the 1927 Yankees was in a slump, needed good luck, they’d eat these pickled eels.

 

Q: But that doesn’t sound like a reason to hate the Yankees, does it?

A: It’s about de-mystifying them. We wanted to include history and some players people might not know about. I’ve explained the book to people as “Yankees and Red Sox for Dummies.” If you don’t know about the rivalry, this is a good place to start.

 

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: RayRouthier