Series ends with a whimper at local Cardinals bar

By Nick Zazulia

The Cubs-Cardinals broadcast began Tuesday with only a few hardcore fans at North Center’s Cards haven, Tavern on Little Fort.

The number maxed out at maybe 20, about four or five times fewer than the number that gathered there for the first three games of the National League Division Series, according to co-owner Mike Jannusch. But none of those was a weekday game with a midafternoon start.

“We were packed Saturday and Sunday, and [Monday] was full,” Jannusch said. “The [3:37 p.m.] start time sucks.”

So did the result for the majority of the patrons. The Cubs defeated St. Louis 6-4 at Wrigley Field to clinch the series.

Jannusch used to manage Sedgewick’s, a Cardinals bar in Lincoln Park, before he opened the Tavern. He said his fandom is the reason both bars fly  Cardinals flags.

Exterior of Tavern on Little Fort
Exterior of Tavern on Little Fort, where Cardinals fans gathered for games vs. the Cubs. (Nick Zazulia/Medill)

A few misplaced Cubs fans showed up at the tavern on Tuesday. Kelly Tino walked in wearing a Cubs sweater and hat, not realizing it was enemy territory, even though she lives in the area.

“I just knew this bar and thought that we’d be able to get in,” Tino said. “I knew a lot of places would be packed.”

When a chorus of laughter greeted her entrance, she learned the bar’s nature.

“I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all!” Tino said with a laugh. “I came out for the spirit, and you don’t really get that at a Cardinals bar. Everybody seems pretty friendly, though.”

Attendees clearly cared about the outcome, but the demeanor in the bar was congenial and amused between rival fans. Some local Cardinals fans, such as Austin Zerkle, who grew up some two hours from St. Louis before moving to Chicago six years ago, sees that as returning the favor.

“Being a Cardinals fan around here, honestly, is pretty OK,” Zerkle said. “It’s a big city, so you can find places [for your team].”

Kevin Humphries, a St. Louis transplant, and AJ Darrell, whose Missouri family ties have pushed him to wear red, agreed.

“It’s nowhere near as bad as advertised, I don’t think,” Humphries said despite the well-chronicled animosity at times between fans of the two teams separated by 300 miles. “I go out in Wrigleyville in my Cards gear and never really have any problems.”

They disagreed in which teams they hope reach the World Series, now that the Cardinals and their MLB-leading 100 regular-season wins are out. While Humphries and Darrell are pulling for a New York Mets-Kansas City Royals matchup, Zerkle is falling back on Chicago.

“If the Cubs [have to] beat the Cardinals, I really [expletive] hope they win the World Series,” Zerkle said. “I really do.”

After the Cubs clinched the game with a Stephen Piscotty stikeout, the pair of Chicago fans present cheered and the Cardinals fans solemnly packed up their things. One guy yelled nonsensicalities, but also proclaimed, “I’m drunk.”

Video by Nick Zazulia/Medill

The happiest person in the place was Tom Coyle. He  works at another bar, which he declined to name, and which he assumed was packed with Cubs fans. He is one, as well, by the way. He watched the game at Tavern on Little Fort to avoid getting pulled into a work shift.

“It’s [expletive] great. It feels so good,” Coyle said. “The great thing is we don’t rely on one guy, one pitcher, something like that; everyone contributes. The Cardinals are the Goliath of the Cubs’ psyche. Now that they’ve beaten them, they can beat anyone.”

Jannusch is disappointed that the Cardinals lost, for both personal and business reasons, but expressed confidence that patrons will still turn out for the rest of the playoffs.

“For the wild-card game with the Pirates, we had a lot of Cubs fans,” he said. “I’m not going to take down the Cardinals flag and pretend we’re suddenly anything [different], but I’ve always tried to keep it friendly.”

Photo at top: Mid-way through the game, a few passionate fans trained their eyes on the broadcast at Tavern on Little Fort. (Nick Zazulia/Medill)

VIDEO: Fan flock to Ernie Banks statue

By Benji Cohen

Prior to Game 4 of the National League Division Series, Cubs fans flocked to the statue of Ernie Banks to pay homage to a man who many is one of the organization’s all-time greatest players. Fans also shared their reactions about Mr. Cubs’ statue and how he might feel about the young and talented 2015 Cubs and their playoff run.

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Cubs fans hope to #flytheW after Game 4

By Brooke Rayford

Cubs fans showed up deep in Wrigleyville, Chicago on Tuesday afternoon, with confidence that the Cubs would clinch game 4 to end the series against the St. Louis Cardinals. If the Cubs win the National League Division Series they will go on to play the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers-New York Mets matchup for the NL Championship Series.

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Quick Hits: Cubs-Cardinals Game 4

By Jordan Ray

Follow along throughout the day for quick hits and tidbits form around Chicago related to today’s Game 4 National League Division Series game between the Cubs and the Cardinals. 


  • At a Cardinals fan watering hole: “Welp. Sad Cardbar. Friendly, though.”
  • At a White Sox watering hole: “Some people excited. Some people not so excited. A whole lot of indifference.”
  • At a Cubs bar: C’mon? Do we really need to say?


    Reported by Nick Zazulia
    The unusual start time of today’s game — 3:37 p.m. — may not have been ideal for bars outside of Wrigleyville that cater to pre-game socializing. At 3:15 p.m., Tavern on Little Fort, a popular Cardinals bar in North Center was relatively empty.

    Tavern Cardinals
    A largely empty Tavern on Little Fort, a popular Cardinals bar, in North Center, shortly before game time. (Nick Zazulia/Medill)

    “Friday and Saturday were nuts,” Tavern on Little Fort co-owner Mike Jannusch said. “This game start sucks, but [attendance will] get going.”

    Sure enough, Cardinals fans began slowly trickling in as the game started.

    When St. Louis left fielder Stephen Piscotty hit his two-run homer in the first inning, the half-dozen strong crowd roared their appreciation, seemingly oblivious to the empty seats around them.

    “I grew up about 2 to 3 hours from St. Louis,” said Austin Zerkle, who has been living in Chicago for six years. “Being a Cardinals fan around here, honestly, is pretty okay because there are Cardinal bars like this. It’s a big city, so you can find places.”

    Tavern Cardinals
    Shortly after the game began, a few more customers had tricked into Tavern on Little Fort, a popular Cardinals bar in North Center. (Nick Zazulia/Medill)

    A Cubs homer made it clear that there weren’t just Cardinals fans in attendance. Kelly Tino, a Cubs fan, wandered in not realizing it was hostile territory.

    “I just knew this bar, and thought that we’d be able to get in,” Tino said. “I knew a lot of places would be packed.”

    She was surprised to be greeted by a chorus of laughter upon her entrance, when she learned the bar’s nature.

    “I dont like it. I don’t like it at all! I came out for the spirit, and you don’t really get that at a Cardinals bar,” Tino said with a laugh. “Everybody seems pretty friendly, though.”



    Former Cubs All Star pitcher Kerry Wood will throw the first pitch at today’s game, Chicago Tribune reporter Luis Gomez tweeted this afternoon. He also reported that the Cubs will use a video of Harry Caray during the seventh-inning stretch.



    0: The number of times the Cubs have clinched a playoff series at home. 

    0.93: The ERA of Cardinals pitcher John Lackey in his four starts against the Cubs this year. Lackey is expected to make the start for St. Louis tonight.

    11: The number of World Series titles the Cardinals have won since the Cubs won their last one in 1908.

    12: The number of years the Cubs had gone without a home playoff game win before last night.

    100: The number of counterfeit tickets seized at Monday night’s game, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

    $115: The cheapest cost for a standing-room only ticket for Game 4, according to StubHub.

    $10,000: The highest cost of an outfield terrace box ticket for Game 4, according to StubHub.

    $132,053,951: The combined payroll of the Cardinals’ players, according to Spotrac.

    $133,194,000:  The combined payroll of Cubs players, according to Spotrac.

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    Running in Pain? No Gain: Marathoners should watch for these signs

    By Colette House

    Early morning runs. Extend the distance, monitor nutrition for optimal performance and making running the single-pointed focus of an exercise routine.

    That’s just par for the course in the months prior to the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

    Now race day is almost upon us. Despite the grueling training, approximately 45,000 people plan to run in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

    Michael Brandson, personal trainer and educator at the NCH Wellness Center in Arlington Heights, said choosing to run a marathon for the right reasons is an important component of training.  Continue reading

    Series of medical emergencies not enough to tackle Northwestern football player


    In January, Northwestern offensive lineman Matt Frazier had surgery on his right ankle.

    In February, he had surgery on his left ankle.

    Three days later, he had emergency spine surgery.

    Then he tore his pectoral muscle.

    Then he contracted a staph infection in his pelvis. The infection turned septic into his bloodstream, and he spent 10 days in the hospital, the first three or so in intensive care.

    Staph infection
    A medical illustration of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that causes staph infections. (CDC)

    Yet there he was last Saturday, inspiring his teammates with a pre-game speech that helped his Wildcats defeat Minnesota in the team’s conference opener. He played sparingly, but is expected to be on the field once again this weekend when Northwestern takes on No. 18 Michigan.
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    Goats, black cats & Bartman: Coming to terms with Cubs’ Curses

    By Shane Monaghan

    For Grant DePorter, the signs clearly show the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series this year.

    For Sam Sianis, it’s not about the signs. It’s about making sure he can bring a billy goat to the playoffs and end the bad karma started by his uncle 70 years ago.

    Two of the leading perpetuators of the curses on the Cubs want the team to reach their first World Series since 1945 and then win their first championship since 1908. The first step starts tonight, when the Cubs take on the Pirates in the National League wild-card game in Pittsburgh.

    Cubs history is littered with cursed moments. From William Sianis admonishing the team for kicking him and his billy goat out of Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series, to a black cat running in front of the Cubs’ dugout and signaling a monumental regular-season collapse in 1969, to Leon Durham botching a ground ball in the 1984 playoffs, to Steve Bartman reaching for a ball during the 2003 postseason, Cubs fans have wondered whether there was some type of weird voodoo involved.  Continue reading