The Chicago Cubs and Northwestern University have been linked together, as far as I’m concerned, ever since I was an undergraduate in the late 1980s. In those days, I would carefully plan my class schedule every spring, so as to leave as many free afternoons as possible.
Since Wrigley Field was about a half hour’s train ride away, I went to as many Cubs games as I could. The first time I went to Wrigley, back in 1987, I sat in the bleachers and soaked it all in: the outfield grass, the sunshine, the atmosphere, the cold beer and everything else, all for a $4 ticket. I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven.
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I wish there had been a baseball major in college, because I surely would have taken it. As it was, my lab studies at Wrigley went unrewarded, so far as academic credits were concerned. Ferris Bueller had made Wrigley Field cool, and Andre Dawson made right field the place to be. I learned things in my classes, of course, but I also spent all my nights crashing out a few miles to the north of Wrigley Field. Life was very good in those days.
So all these years and decades later, the two sides have decided to formally tie the knot. Some ties between the two sides had already existed: Joe Girardi is an NU alum who broke in with the Chicago Cubs in 1989, and Tim Stoddard, Northwestern’s long-time pitching coach, was a member of the 1984 Cubs that won the National League East.
Did you like the Wrigley marquee in Wildcat purple a few years back, for the football game against Illinois? Well brace yourself, because you’re going to see quite a bit more of it in the years ahead. Northwestern Athletics and the Chicago Cubs announced on Tuesday a multi-year event and reciprocal marketing partnership that will showcase a wide range of Wildcats athletic programs at Wrigley Field, including baseball, lacrosse and five Wildcats football games.
I’m sure somebody’s going to be selling a purple hat with a Cubs logo on it, or a Cubs hat with a purple and white C on it before too long. I’ll be sure to snatch them up just as soon as I find them, too. The possibilities are endless, I’m sure.
And once this works out — it’s not a question of if it works out — your own team, whatever it may be, will start looking at nearby options of their own. But the trail is now been blazed, and I can’t wait to see where it leads.
Go Cubs! Go Cats!