Cubs die-hard Cusack says he’s ‘Chicago’ fan as he takes in game at Sox Park

Despite his affinity for the North Siders, Cusack insists he’s a fan of both teams and he can cite old statistics and obscure players from past White Sox teams to prove it.

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Actor John Cusack hangs out with girlfriend Jodi O’Keefe at the Sox-Cubs game at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday on June 28, 2008.

Chris Sweda/Sun-Times

One of Chicago’s best-known Cub fans went to the game in neutral dress: black cap, dark shades, a beige button-down, a fanny pack and black pants. For a good part of the game Saturday, he was relatively low-key in a skybox near home plate.

But as the game want on, actor John Cusack couldn’t hold back his passion for the game. When Derrek Lee cracked a two-run double in the 4th inning, he pumped his fist and smiled. Like any die- hard fan, he started shooting the breeze about how much fun it has been to watch the Cubs this year, and how excited he was to be at Saturday’s game on his 42nd birthday.

He is excited about backup players like Mark DeRosa and Ryan T heriot, and he thinks Kosuke Fukudome is “beautiful to watch on the field.” And he thinks closer Kerry Wood might be the star of the team — after many wondered if he would ever pitch for the Cubs again.

Despite his affinity for the Cubs, Cusack insists he’s a fan of both teams. He can cite old statistics and obscure players from past White Sox teams to prove it. He still goes to games in both parks. He also recalls the days when Harry Caray — who later jumped to the North Side — announced games for the Sox with Jimmy Piersall.

“I grew up watching both teams,” Cusack said. “I love the Sox as much as the Cubs. I get in a lot of trouble for it, but I remember when Mike Squires and Lamar Johnson were platooning at first base” for the Sox in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The biggest critic of his mixed allegiances might have been White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who initially denied the movie star tickets to the 2005 World Series. Reinsdorf reportedly thought Cusack had double-crossed him after supporting the Sox during the 2000 playoff run and then supporting the Cubs in the 2003 playoffs.

Cusack said he “had to remind Reinsdorf” of one of his screen roles.

“I played [George] Buck Weaver in ‘Eight Men Out’, so I wore the colors of the Sox,” he said. “I really do love them.”

The two later cleared the air. Cusack went to the World Series and was blown away by the Sox team.

“The White Sox starting pitching in the World Series, that was the best I think in the history of baseball,” he said. “If anybody can tell me there was a team with better starting pitching, I’d love to see it.”

He’d also love to see an all-Chicago championship.

“It would be the best thing in the world,” he said. He, for one, will refuse to work. “If I’m making a film, I’ve told the film companies, you have to give me those days off or I’m going AWOL.”

Cusack, an Evanstonian by birth, was pulling for the Cubs in the late innings, as was his girlfriend, “Prison Break” star Jodi O’Keefe, who was in town from L.A.

Still, after the Sox narrowly beat the Cubs, Cusack stood up and clapped.

“What a game,” he said.

HAT’S A NO-SHOW

Celebrities, musicians and politicians were out in force for the Cubs-Sox series at both Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field the last two weekends. The list includes actors D.B. Sweeney, Jeremy Piven, Jenna Fischer and Tim Meadows, director Rob Reiner, musicians Pete Wentz, Ashlee Simpson, Kenny Chesney and Josh Kelley, comedian Bernie Mac, and Mayor Richard Daley as well as his brother Bill Daley.

But despite rumors, the South Siders’ most well-known fan, Barack Obama, didn’t show. If he had, it would have been interesting to see what hat he was wearing. Apparently, after pictures surfaced of Obama wearing a worn-out, beat-up Sox cap, team officials sent him some new hats. But apparently he said “thanks, but no thanks,” as he preferred the old one.

“Like any true fan, he liked his hat better,” a Sox official said.

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