It didn't matter that the Bronx Bombers haven't won a World Series title since 2000, Frank "From Gloucester" Iacono still endlessly praised and defended the Yankees in a territory owned and ruled by the arch rival Boston Red Sox. For Iacono, the ammunition never seemed to run out, despite the recent playoff failures.
That was until Monday night.
The Cleveland Indians eliminated the men in pinstripes with a 6-4 victory in game four of the best-of-five American League Division Series, at Yankee Stadium no less. The loss marked the third straight year that the Yankees were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, and served as a knockout blow ending Iacono's career as a sports talk radio show caller. Perhaps the ammunition had run dry, but Iacono believes the time was right.
"I'm retiring, I'm done," said Iacono on Tuesday afternoon, just 18 hours removed from New York's season-ending loss. "I'm 79-years-old, and I'm no spring chicken. Everything comes to an end and the Yankees loss caused this."
Iacono, who has become a bit of a radio show-calling icon, was arguably WEEI's most known caller. He brought humor and a refreshing and unique opinion to the radio. Particularly in an area where varying opinions on sports can be few and far between. Needless to say, if he stays true to his word, he will be missed.
"There will be some people disappointed that I'm not calling anymore," said Iacono, who is originally from Providence and has been living in Gloucester since 1966. "A lot of people considered me WEEI's No. 1 caller."
Iacono has also been keeping a low profile in Gloucester. In an effort to avoid the inevitable jokes regarding the playoff misfortunes of his Yankees, Iacono has been taking an early train to Boston in the morning to spend some quality time in the North End. While he still gets recognized by strangers even in the city, it's not nearly as much as in his hometown where the whole community knows him.
"When I woke up Tuesday morning everybody was all over me," Iacono said with a laugh. "I can't go anywhere."
Just because he's done calling, doesn't mean he's done listening. As a huge fan of sports, it would be tough for him to stay away. The radio has allowed Iacono to listen to virtually every Yankees game since 1938, which was the last full season played by Iacono's hero, legendary New York first baseman Lou Gehrig.
However, as far as the rest of the baseball postseason goes, Iacono will not be watching.
"If the Yankees aren't in the playoffs, it's just not the same," he said. "I don't watch it. I hate the Red Sox more than anything in the world. Every year I think the Yankees will win the championship and the Red Sox won't make the playoffs."
Iacono says it usually takes him until at least March to fully get over a New York postseason loss. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are still bidding for their second World Series crown in four years to make matters worse. He'll rely on the Celtics, his favorite NBA team, to make the offseason a little more enjoyable. Iacono expects title No. 17 from the Green this year.
While his Yankees sort out their problems over the next few months - such as whether Joe Torre, Alex Rodriguez and a bevy of other free agents return - the local airwaves will be a lot quieter and a lot less exciting.
"It's been a lot of fun," Iacono said. "I take pictures with people when they see me. I'm almost like a professional baseball player and I love it."
Something tells me he'll be back.
Matt Langone is the sports editor of The Gloucester Daily Times. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.