Chicago White Sox
Musician: Andy Farag
Band: Umphrey’s McGee
Why he loves the White Sox: “Growing up in Northwest Indiana, you’re predisposed to be a White Sox fan. Comiskey Park was only a 40-minute drive from my house and my uncle took me to so many Sox games, I couldn’t even count. Baseball—and my team, the White Sox—quickly became a favorite pastime. From watching Carlton Fisk to Ron Kittle (who lived in my neighborhood and who I used to see at the local grocery store), I couldn’t help but become a lifelong White Sox fan. While the team had little success when I was young, I still enjoyed going to every game. Finally, in 2005, I got my Championship. I’m still basking in the glory—just ask all my Cub-fan bandmates!”
Musician: John Bell
Band: Widespread Panic
Why he loves the Indians: “I remember the rush when we walked up the ramp, through the portal and I became one of the 60,000 people. I accompanied my older brother and sister, mom and dad—mom kept the stats with a pencil and scorecard (she was an accountant). When you look around at a ballpark, you see all types: old and young, men and women—all colors and backgrounds. Baseball’s universal appeal speaks for itself. [The game] is a pure and innocent concept—just like musical notes.”
First MLB Game: Cleveland Indians, Municipal Stadium, five years old.
Musician: Josh Epstein
Band: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Why he loves the Tigers: “The Detroit Tigers are our baseball team. Their glory years were far ahead of our time, and yet we hear tales of Detroit being a ‘baseball’ town. Then 2007 came and the Tigers sucked us all back in. I think that Detroiters are some of the most proud people when it comes to representing their city, and will get on a bandwagon faster than most (see the Lions season-ticket sales for next year). Hopefully the young pitchers step it up this year and we go back to the World Series.”
Kansas City Royals
Musician: James Suptic
Band: Get Up Kids
Why he loves the Royals: “There used to be a time when the Kansas City Royals were good. Really good. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true. This is back when we had guys named Brett, Saberhagen and McRae. We even won a World Series. You see this is the time when I became a Royals fan. When you’re young and your favorite team is good, you start to expect that every year. I’ve now been waiting 26 years just to see them make the playoffs. It’s hard being a Royals fan. Watching your team be the laughing stock of baseball isn’t fun. Through it all though, we still keep rooting those boys on. Not a superstar among them, but we keep rooting. To be a Royals fan is to be a true lover of the game. Even by July when all hope of even a winning season has evaporated, we are still out at the K, $10 flat beer in hand. It’s easy to be a Yankees or Cardinals fan. To be a Royals fan takes real heart. Twenty-six years I’ve been waiting. Maybe I’ll have to wait 26 more. It really doesn’t matter. When you’re a Royals fan, it’s for life. I just hope I’m not waiting a lifetime.”
Over/Under on the number of years until the next Royals’ title: 26.
Musician: Craig Finn
Band: The Hold Steady
Why he loves the Twins: “I still remember the fall of 1987 as one of the absolute highlights of my life. It was the fall I got my drivers license and my first girlfriend. To make things even better, the Twins beat the Cardinals to win the Series. Growing up in Minneapolis, you didn’t always feel like you were in the middle of things (except for geographically). That October, however, I knew Minneapolis was the place to be. The Twins were on three Sports Illustrated covers in a row, and of course we had The Replacements, Husker Du, and Soul Asylum. While my first girlfriend moved on, my first love—the 1987 Minnesota Twins—remains in my heart to this day.”
Finn’s least favorite childhood snack: Twinkies.