Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald believes we will see a red line World Series in our life times, and when we do he’ll be sporting the silver and black of the South Side. Fitzgerald, who grew up in suburban Orland Park, held court with the media at the end of NU spring football practice, and then, after other reporters dispersed, we hung around a bit longer to talk Chicago baseball.
The Chicago Cubs brought Fitzgerald in this offseason to talk to the coaching staff, due to his expertise in communicating with college and soon-to-be college players. Northwestern is very intertwined with the Cubs as they share some corporate partners, and until recent years, broadcast partners.
We asked the native of hard core Chicago White Sox country how he’s kept his “South Side cred” in spite of all the Cubs connections.
“I’ve kept my cool card,” he responded.
“Still cool on the south side. I get busted up by my buddies pretty hard on the south side. I’ve never been a hater though.”
“I get the haters, I get the Cubs (fan) haters that hate the Sox and the Sox (fan) haters that hate the Cubs, I’ve never really been that way, I love both organizations, they’re unbelievable.”
The Cubs entered Monday night’s home game against the Florida Marlins with the best run differential in baseball by five runs and in first place in the NL Central division.
The White Sox entered the day with a record of 15-18 and 5.5 games out of first in the AL Central division.
Pat Fitzgerald then reiterated the bold statement that he made on the Saturday in November of 2016 that followed the Cubs’ historic World Series win. He even picked a side too.
“And I’m going to be a part of the red line World Series! I know it’s gonna happen in my life time and I know I’ll be wearing the silver and black when it happens,” he said at the Ryan Field house a couple weeks ago, “but I won’t be rooting against the Cubs.”
“I will be rooting for the Sox-that’s the way I’ve always operated.”
We then posited the idea to him that when it comes to crosstown hate, the acrimony of Sox fans against the Cubs is stronger than Cubs fan acrimony for the White Sox.
“I think it’s maybe from a notoriety and publicity standpoint, but I think it’s just great that we’re in a city that has the ability to have two major league baseball teams,” he answered.
“It’s awesome and I think our guys take full advantage of it. Looking forward to that red line series- it’s gonna happen!”
Hey, it did happen once- in 1906, with the Sox winning four games to two.
This regular season, the Cubs will host the White Sox on Tuesday and Wednesday night, with the series later shifting to the South Side on July 6th and 7th.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets:Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.
Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, also contributes to Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.