No, he hasn’t abandoned by the Democratic Party for the GOP. He’s done something that, by Chicago standards, is almost as drastic — opting, as a South Sider and devoted White Sox fan, to say something nice about the Chicago Cubs.
The president tweeted Sunday: “I’ll say it: Holy Cow, @Cubs fans. Even this White Sox fan was happy to see Wrigley rocking last night. #FlyTheW.”
Obama’s reference was to the playoff victory Saturday by the Cubs at Wrigley Field over the Los Angeles Dodgers. That win that catapulted baseball’s most hard-luck franchise into the World Series for the first time since 1945, way back in the early days of the Truman administration.
His “Holy Cow” reference was to the catchphrase of the late Harry Caray, a beloved announcer who worked for both of Chicago’s baseball teams in his illustrious career.
The Cubs’ World Series opponent, the Cleveland Indians, also have an affinity for the era of Harry Truman, not having won a World Series since 1948. But the Cubs’ woes actually go back much further, as the city’s North Side team hasn’t actually won a world championship since 1908, almost a full century before it would have been possible for President Theodore Roosevelt or anyone else to send congratulations by tweet.
Obama has long been a White Sox fan — his team saw its own soul-crushing championship drought end in 2005 — and the fans of the two teams tend to view each other as arch-rivals, content to see the other fail miserably whenever possible. Presumably, at least in Obama’s case, that is off for the duration of the Fall Classic, which starts Tuesday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
White House watchers got an unusual dose of North Side fandom last week, when actor-comedian Bill Murray showed up Friday in Cubs garb at a White House press briefing. He used the opportunity to make some predictions for Saturday’s Game 6. Murray could be seen weeping with joy after the game.