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Question of the day

Friday, Apr 27, 2012

* I’ve been meaning to post stories on some complicated topics, but it’s Friday, it was a long week and I’m distracted as heck by something else, so let’s go with a story about Michelle Obama instead

“Are you as big of a White Sox fan as your husband?” a 10-year-old boy asked the first lady, in reference to the president’s well-known support of the South Siders. The child followed up with a query of whether she had congratulated Sox pitcher Philip Humber on his perfect game last weekend against the Seattle Mariners.

The first lady acted quickly to set the record straight.

“Oh, gosh,” she said. “OK, the … no, I’m not as big a fan because I grew up a Cubs fan. We’re a mixed marriage.”

Obama went on to explain, as she has in the past, that her father was a Cubs fan, despite the fact her family lived on the South Side.

I know a lot of South Side African-American Cub fans. Back in the day, the Sox weren’t perceived as all that, um “black friendly.”

* The Question: How does your family deal with divided baseball loyalties? Tell us your story.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Slick Willy - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:22 pm:

    We don’t. We are a hockey and football family. :)

  2. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:25 pm:

    My older brothers were Cub fans, so there was no chance of divided loyalties growing up. It was their way or being folded down in the jump seat of the Buick station wagon, sucking the exhaust on the ride into town.

    I have a son who is a Yankees fan and a Packers fan. Since he’s an all-conference left tackle, I deal with it through silent suffering.

  3. - 47th Ward - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:34 pm:

    My father-in-law is a (wait for it) Mets fan. He’s not even from NYC for crying out loud.

    So for his grandson, my boy, he buys Mets gear. The freaking Mets! Most of it ends up in the St. Vincent DePaul box, but my son really likes one of the hats. He’s only 2 and a half, but I’ll forever resent my father-in-law for this subversive attempt to lead my boy on the path to ruin.

    Cardinals? I could understand that, they win. But the Mets? Seriously?

  4. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:35 pm:

    With my daughters before they were married their husbands had to convert to the Sox.And promise to raise the kids as Sox fans. My Sons all married Sox fans so there was no issue.We all agree on the Bears,Bulls and Hawks. I’m sure this issue has broken up many homes, proving once again the Cubs are nothing but trouble makers.

  5. - mokenavince - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:36 pm:

    I ended up as anon somehow. The post was by me.

  6. - Wensicia - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:37 pm:

    My late husband would pick whichever team was hot at the moment, big White Sox fan in 2005 when previously he had been a Cubs fan. This sacrilege was never forgiven by me. Loyalty is everything; I’ll stick with the Cubs.

  7. - Earnest - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:44 pm:

    We deal with it by betting. The stakes are always something embarrassing…wearing the other team’s hat or shirt for a day or a week or something like that. My dad’s a lifelong Sox fan. He goes to the bar three times a week but will occasionally take off if the Sox are doing badly so he doesn’t get as much grief from his buddies.

  8. - OneMan - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:45 pm:

    I am married to a Cubs fan we deal with it by me pointing out when the Cubs lose and getting in trouble for doing so.

  9. - Cubs Fan - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:49 pm:

    Thank God my terrific South Side Irish Father-In-Law was a Cubs fan…so my wife is one too. It makes us unified in our eternal optimism. Go Cubs!!

  10. - Tom - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:58 pm:

    I’m a Sox fan and have really good taste so of course I was never interesting in anyone stupid enough to be a cubs fan.

  11. - Tom B. - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    I am in OneMan’s boat.

    I also on occasion wear my Konerko jersey when I go to Wrigely and Aviva sits there with her head in her hands.

  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:00 pm:

    My four brothers and I all grew up rock solid Cub fans. They were shocked when I finally couldn’t take the “we love losing” attitude any longer back in 2000 and converted to the Sox. Horrified, even. It was like I’d had a sex change operation or something. They didn’t know who I was any more.

    Eventually, they’ve come around. After a trip to Sox Park (in the Scout Seats, with all those perks), by brother Denny fell in love with my team and our fans.

    Doug, the other major baseball fan in the family, is still perturbed, but we are now fans of opposing American League teams (he lives near Dallas), so it’s become a fun rivalry. He’s come up for Sox games, I’ve gone down there as well.

    I went to see the Rangers on July 4th a couple years ago. Wow. Talk about your public displays of affection towards one’s country. Hoo-boy it was something. I decided to step out for a smoke when everyone rose and took off their hats to “Proud to be an American.” I’m very proud to be an American, I love my country, but that ain’t our national anthem. It seemed sacrilegious to me. But I did get some weird looks as I was walking up the stairs.

  13. - cermak_rd - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:02 pm:

    In my mis-spent youth I was a Braves fan because we received TBS over the cable. I even rigged up a bizarro radio antenna so I could catch the Monday games that weren’t broadcast. I didn’t want to be a Cubs fan because my father was a Cubs fan so clearly this was a team for the old folks.

    As I’ve grown older, I’ve switched allegiance to the Cubs.

  14. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:18 pm:

    My Dad is a Mets fan. I’m a Cards (and adopted White Sox) fan. My wife’s family is a bunch of Cubs fans.

    I’ve never pushed them, but our two sons have adopted the Cardinals even though we live in the SW Chicago suburbs. I think they like winning and seeing me go berserk like last year, so the “problem” solved itself.

  15. - Springfieldish - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    My parents were from Detroit and we lived there a while, so I moved to the Chicago area talking about Al Kaline and Gordie Howe. I think that’s how I learned to dodge a punch. But I became a complete fan of the White Sox. My son’s love for the Hawks brought my dad around in time for the Stanley Cup. It was a good, multi-generational moment, even if my dad kept pronouncing his name as “Toes”.

    My wife hated baseball and hockey. But the Hawk and Tom Paciorek made her a fan. The Blackhawks followed close behind, and now peace reigns in the home. America! What a country!

    Know what you mean about the Rangers’ song. I commented that I wasn’t a huge Neal Diamond fan at Fenway and got a “Gibbs-slap” in the back of the head by a woman behind me. Yeesh! Boston! What a city!

  16. - Lil' Enchilada - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    The first time I met my future mother-in-law (at her home) she asked if I was a Cub fan. I said yes, so I was allowed to stay.

    Recently, when driving through St. Louis, my husband was so upset about having to pass Busch Stadium that he took a wrong turn.

  17. - El Conquistador - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    I’m a Cardinals fan. The wife is a Braves fan. (It comes from her father.) So I just moved us to the Metro East where she is too outnumbered to say anything.

  18. - Hank - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:30 pm:

    Sox family, although a sibling who is probably the most rabid sox fan (season tickets etc) married a nice Irish kid from Bridgeport who could walk to the park but hated the Sox and is a Cubs fan. He goes to Sox games with her but she won’t set foot in Wrigley. He has corrupted two neices but all are subject to great mocking at family events. My late wife grew up in the shadow of the old park and one sister still lived there when the State bought the old house for the new park.

  19. - Levois - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    My mother considers herself a White Sox fan and I consider myself a Cubs fan. Also my mother had also defined herself as a Cardinals fan because she used to listen to their games in Mississippi as a child!

  20. - Smallchowda - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:42 pm:

    Baseball is boring. Im watching hockey right now.

  21. - Frank - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:42 pm:

    My brother is a Sox fan. His wife is a Cubs fan. I’ve taken it on as my responsibility to make sure that their 3 year old is a Sox fan.

  22. - PublicServant - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:42 pm:


  23. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:44 pm:

    ==“Proud to be an American.”=

    Was that the Firesign Theatre version?

  24. - amalia - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:49 pm:

    luckily, my husband converted before I met him, but I did multiple tests to ensure that there was only Sox love left in him.

  25. - Jimbos - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:49 pm:

    I’m a transplant from Minnesota - grew up with the Twins. My wife is from So. IL and is a Cards fan. In ‘87 we were building a new house. She watched the Series at the old place. I watched at the new place. Twins won.

  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    ===but I did multiple tests===

    You should publish those tests.

  27. - Excessively Rabid - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 2:07 pm:

    ==You should publish those tests==

    …I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition….

  28. - zatoichi - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 2:11 pm:

    Grew up in Chicago and spent many afternoons as a bleacher bum at both Wrigley and Comiskey. As long as the beer was cold my loyalty was solid ….The beer guy didn’t care about age as long as you weren’t stupid. Over time I drifted to the Sox. Now my daughter is a die-hard Cubs nut. Even has a Cubs BBQ grill cover. I think she was adopted.

  29. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 2:15 pm:

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  30. - vise77 - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 2:20 pm:

    I’m a Cardinals fan. My wife grew up in Wisconsin as (in this order) a Packers fan and a Brewers fan. We’ve been living together for about five years, married for two, have MLB ticket and attend maybe 4-6 various games each year. It’s a friendly rivalry, but what’s really interesting is to watch her appreciation of baseball grow tremendously–she has a mind naturally orientated toward statistics, too–and the way we use our Central Division rivalry to make the baseball season even more interesting than it is (I never thought that was possible). In turn, I got to appreciate the beauty that is Miller Park.

    So, this mixed baseball marriage has worked out very well.

  31. - Rodney King - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 2:37 pm:

    People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”

  32. - adolfo - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 2:41 pm:

    I am a Cubs fan, but I remember a Mike Royko column about Jackie Robinson’s first game at Wrigley Field. He wrote that black fans seldom came to the north side in those days, either. He was at that game and his recollection was that the African Americans fan dressed like they were going to church. It was that kind of an occasion.

  33. - SO IL M - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 3:02 pm:

    I am a Cardinals Fan, and my wife is a Cubs Fan. After 12 years I have gotten her converted enough to appreciate the Cards, but she will always be a Cub fan at heart. We have been looking at tickets for a Crads-Cubs game in Wriggly Field. Even as a Cardinal Fan thats one place you have to appreciate.

  34. - Rich Mahogany - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 3:10 pm:

    My oldest sister (Cubs fan) married a Cards fan back in ‘78…I think her name was Mary. Or was it Marie.

  35. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 3:16 pm:

    For some reason my family’s divided baseball allegiances lined up exactly with our political ones. And our way of dealing with this was to fight and tease each other about it, while at the same time our shared love of competition and love of laughter bound us all together.

    My grandmother, my mom’s mom, was a total Cubs fan despite being born in Southern Illinois and later growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Her Cubs fandom dated back to going to Ladies Day games in the ’30s to cheer on her fave player, Gabby Hartnett. As she babysat my brothers and I often during the summers and after school, she would always have WGN on and we would all giggle at Harry Caray together and have a great time. She was also a yellow dog FDR Democrat and flaming liberal.

    My mom grew up in the suburbs rooting for the Cubs and White Sox despite the influence of her decidedly Cubs fan mother, my grandma, because my grandpa liked driving into the city for games at Comiskey and he didn’t like driving into the city to go to Wrigley. So basically she roots for everyone, and she doesn’t even wish the Cardinals ill. She’s a squish moderate.

    My dad, who grew up in Central Illinois, is a Cardinals fan. It’s actually hard for me to tell whether he is more a fan of the Cardinals winning than he is a fan of the Cubs losing, but did try to get us kids to root for the Cardinals but only my oldest brother followed him in that regard. Just like its only my oldest brother that is a Republican like he is.

    My other brother and I are both suffering Cubs fans and solidly Democrats, taking more after our grandmother. But my nephew, my Cub fan brother’s son, is probably going to wind up a Cardinals fan. This brother moved closer to St. Louis to be near his wife’s family and was horrified to discover last fall his son coming home from pre-school with rally squirrel art projects to cheer on the Cards in the World Series. My niece so far has been keeping up the Cubs faith despite the move, though. Looks like the inter-family baseball squabbles will continue to another generation and I am kind of glad about that.

  36. - Sunshine - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 3:29 pm:

    My bride of 35-years is a Cards fan and I am a Sox fan. We were hugging just before entering the Sox stadium recently and people thought we were seriously in love.

    Truth is, we were checking each other for weapons. It can be worrisome at times.

  37. - titan - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 3:42 pm:

    My sone married a Red Wings fan, and it looks like mixed marriages can work.

    I’ve always rooted for Chicago…in every sport. It isn’t like there’s any real risk of the two baseball teams playing each other in the post season.

  38. - Thoughts... - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 3:52 pm:

    I come from a long line of Cubs/Bears/Hawks fans, though there is the occasional black sheep who veers off the straight and narrow.

    As a traditional family, we deal with it in a traditional way - shunning.

  39. - Edge of the 14th Ward - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 3:58 pm:

    I’m a Cubs fan for life. My wife teases me about it, and pretends to be a Sox fan because “at least they win every once in a while.” I always counter that by asking, “Who did the Sox play today? Who was pitching? What was the final score?” and smirking when she can’t come up with the answers.

  40. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 4:25 pm:

    –My four brothers and I all grew up rock solid Cub fans. They were shocked when I finally couldn’t take the “we love losing” attitude any longer back in 2000 and converted to the Sox.–

    No bigger zealot than the recently converted. I understand, though. That WGN signal came in a lot stronger out on the farm than WFLD.

    Moose Skowron died today at 81. A son of Polonia, Chicago kid and eight-time all-star, he played on the great Yankee teams of the 50s and 60s, winning four World Series in the Bronx and another in Chavez Ravine. Pretty much finished his career with the Sox and stayed home.

    He used to hang at Doc Ryans and the old Sportsmans on Madison in Forest Park. I and my buddies had opportunities to talk baseball with him on occasion til everyone needed a cab. Sometimes, Heisman winner Johnny Lattner out of Fenwick and Notre Dame would chime in.

    That ain’t bad company for cheap beer.

    Moose played with guys like Mantle, Berra, Ford, Drysdale and Koufax. He said the best player he ever saw was Willie Mays.

  41. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Friday, Apr 27, 12 @ 4:44 pm:

    @Word — I’m saddened to read about the death of Moose. I recently learned that he was the last player to be on different World Series winners in consecutive years (’62 Yankees & ‘63 Dodgers).

    My wife came from Boston, so she is a Red Sox fan first, then a White Sox fan.

    All males in my family born prior to 1960 were and remain White Sox fans.

    Subsequent generations have mixed allegiances, and my son has enjoyed the Cardinals for the past 6 years or more, which is fine by me.

    One in-law took a few nephews & nieces to Cubs games on a regular basis as they were growing up, so they’ve been brain washed.

    When pressed to say something nice about the Cubs and Wrigley, I express appreciation of the low volume public address system (at least it was low volume a decade ago). I no longer blame players or managers/coaches for the team they wind up playing for professionally.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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