Walmart project moves forward

The Cubs lost Wednesday night to the Mets, 8 to 3, so the team’s postseason run came to an end. 

But the defeat was not a cause for despair for all Cub fans. One Homewood man, who said he has been a Cub fan since he was 9, focused on the team’s accomplishments this year. 

“This years team will go down as one of my all-time favorites and the future is very very bright,” said Bobby Maszak in a Facebook post. “This Cubs season has made me excited to watch baseball again. With great management and so much young talent, the Chicago Cubs will be regulars in the play-offs for years to come.”

As the North Siders enjoy the team’s run into post-season play, they are joined by the faithful in the South Suburbs. 

Cubs fan Marvin Austin wears 
a White Sox cap — briefly — 
the result of a prank by his 
friend (and Sox fan) 
Homewood Mayor Richard 
Hofeld. Austin had the last 
laugh, though, as the Cubs 
are facing the Mets tonight 
in the fourth game of the 
National League 
Championship series. 

(Provided photo)

It’s not so lonely being a southern Cubs fan in these days. The team is down 3-0 in its battle with the New York Mets in the National League Championship series, but the young team’s victories in a wild-card playoff game and in the division series have fans excited. 

At the conclusion of the Homewood Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, Oct. 13, the night the Cubs downed the St. Louis Cardinals in the division series, Mayor Richard Hofeld was moved to offer his best wishes to local Cub fans.

“As a White Sox fan it pains me to say it, but congratulations to the Cubs and the Cub fans,” he said, with a nod to Village Manager Jim Marino, Village Attorney Chris Cummings and Trustee Lisa Purcell.

Then on Saturday, during his weekly Meet the Mayor session at Village Hall, Hofeld found himself again surrounded by Cub fans.

Two of them are regulars at the mayor’s Saturday sessions, Marvin Austin and Ron Adams. 

When asked for their reaction to the team’s success this year, the two said almost in unison, “It’s about time.”

The Cubs won the National League Eastern Division in 2008, but the team has not played in a World Series since 1945. 

 Neither Austin nor Adams was wearing a Cubs cap on Saturday.

“I wore a Cubs hat (here) one time and I got so much ridicule,” Austin said with a smile. The Cubs-Sox banter at Village Hall is good-natured, and he and Hofeld engage in it regularly during the baseball season.

The Cubs’ success had Austin and Adams reminiscing about how the two South Suburbanites became fans of the North Side team.

Austin, who grew up in Harvey and has lived in Homewood since 1947, said he traces his Cubs loyalty back to the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal, when White Sox team was suspected of fixing the World Series. The players were acquitted of criminal charges, but eight of them were banned from baseball for life.

Austin’s father, who moved to the area from southern Illinois, was a Sox fan at the time, as were most people in the southern part of Chicago and its suburbs. 

“There was really only one team in Chicago” as far as his family was concerned, he said. “That was the Sox.”

But after the scandal, Austin’s father transferred his affections to the Cubs, and Austin grew up rooting for the North Side team.

Adams’ story was similar. When he was a youngster growing up in Homewood, his mother took him to several Cubs games. 

“I don’t know why she took me way up there,” he said, but the team made an impression on him. And he thinks things may have turned around for his team.

“I think this is the start of a good run,” he said.

Another life-long Cubs fan stopped by on Saturday. Frank Amador presented Hofeld with a White Sox towel he received at a Sox-Cubs game this year.

“I’ve been a Cub fan for 80 years,” he said. “Even if they don’t go any further, they’ll have a feather in their caps.”

Hofeld accepted the towel and endured the Cub fans’ celebrations with resigned good humor. One of the Cub fans pointed out that at least Sox fans have better parking at Cellular Field than the Cub fans do at Wrigley Field.

“It’s tough when the best part of the season is ‘We have better parking,'” he said.

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