|April 12, 2008 --
There's a traitor walking free in The Bronx.
The man who tried to curse the Yankees by burying a Red Sox jersey in the Bombers' new stadium lives just a short drive from the House that Ruth Built.
The culprit is a mason - born and raised in the Country Club section of southeast Bronx.
"As I stuck it in, I said, 'The Yankees are done for the next 30 years.' I only put a 30-year curse because I'm 46 and in 30 years I'll be dead, and I won't care if the Yankees win then," said "Gino," who spoke from a construction job in Manhattan.
Already, the man's co-workers defaced his station wagon with Yankee slogans written in shoe polish.
Long a Yankee hater, the turncoat hatched his plan last August after refusing to set foot on the job out of spite.
One summer day, he placed a carefully folded jersey bearing the name and uniform number of David Ortiz, the slugging Red Sox designated hitter known as Big Papi, into the concrete mix being laid along the third base line.
"The reason why is George Steinbrenner told [Yankees GM Brian] Cashman to get Ortiz and Cashman told him, we don't need him, We have [Jason] Giambi and Nick Johnson," Gino boasted, referring to a chance the Yanks had to sign Ortiz in 2003.
"Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for All-State Insurance company to make more money," he ranted. "Every ball thrown, I hope I have the last laugh. Red Sox Nation is alive and well."
Two witnesses spotted the mason planting the shirt, which he wore to work that day, in the floor of the visitor's locker room in front of the third-base line - not on the field.
But Gino was coy as to the exact location.
The Steinbrenners "don't have enough money to [make me] tell you where it actually is," he said.
The traitor said he'd been rooting for the Red Sox since the days of Jim Rice in the 1970s.
When he buried the jersey, this Benedict Arnold was making $88 an hour to do construction at the treasured site. And he documented the entire sabotage on his cellphone camera.
Gino, a 6-foot-2 giant built like bricks, says he doesn't fear retribution - just getting sued if his cursed jersey is dug up.
Mayor Bloomberg led the chorus of shocked reaction yesterday.
"It is an outrage!" the Boston-born Bloomberg told The Post before the Yanks played the Sox last night.
"The one thing that I'd really like to be able to do is to go in there and pitch for the Yankees and beat the Red Sox with a perfect game. That would be a way to end the curse," the mayor said.
"They envy the Yankees. They wish they were the Yankees. And every once in a while, you might not win the whole thing, but to say that the public is on the side of the Yankees is an understatement."
Yankee ballplayers took it all in stride.
"I am sure somebody, a Yankee fan, would dig it up, right?" asked Derek Jeter.
He then wondered how long the curse-caster would be employed.
Likewise, former Red Sox star Johnny Damon asked, "Does this guy still have a job?"
But he added that he's not scared of a buried jersey. "I wouldn't worry about that. I would worry if you took a body and put it under there," he said.
Andy Pettitte played it cool. "I'm not a superstitious person. It is kind of funny, though."
Fans were not amused.
"That shirt is cursed. They should dig it out and have bonfire with it," said Liza Oviedo, at the Sports Bar & Grill across from Yankee Stadium."
But at least one liked the idea.
"[Red Sox jerseys] should be buried under two tons of concrete," said Christopher Rogers, 25, of Albany, who watched the Bombers hammer the Sox 4-1 at Fenway Park last night. "Buried because that's what we do. We bury them."
Yankee legend Yogi Berra offered his own solution.
"I was never superstitious, but maybe we should bury one over there at Fenway too," Berra said.
Yesterday morning, Yankee ownership laughed off The Post's exclusive report about the jinx story as false and said the paper was "10 days late for April Fool's Day."
But when told about the visual proof, the team had to backtrack and issued a new statement about the sabotage attempt.
If the cellphone footage helps locate the buried jersey, "we will say thanks to The Post for showing us where the T-shirt is, so that we can put an extra layer of concrete over it to make sure it stays buried," said Yankee spokeswoman Alice McGillion.
But just in case the buried jersey does indeed bring a curse, Bonnie Thompson, a 37-year-old witch from Hicksville, LI, cast a spell to sweep away the jinx.
"I cast out all negative energies from the Red Sox jinx. Their buried T-shirt has no effect here," the Wiccan priestess said while wearing an all-black dress and Yankees cap. "All negative thought-form be gone."
She then lay a Red Sox jersey on the ground and beat it with a broom.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Fermino in Boston, Carolyn Salazar, Matthew Nestel and Lara Moscrip in N.Y.