By Hannah Beery
The most famous Sox fan did the Cubs a favor this week.
President Obama’s conspicuous Twitter non-follow of the team Monday has led to about 1,000 new Cubs followers and given ticket sales a boost since then, according to vice president of communications Julian Green.
The Commander-in-Chief (@POTUS) cracked a few jokes earlier this week on the social media site not long after he joined with a new personal account. The first friendly dig was a joke at President Bill Clinton.
— President Obama (@POTUS44) May 18, 2015
The second dig, most agree, was directed at the Cubs and drew reaction for what he did not do.
Obama’s “following” list includes former presidents, his alma mater, the Cabinet, U.S. Department of Treasury, and almost every single beloved Chicago sports teams – including the Blackhawks, White Sox, Bears and Bulls — but not the Cubs.
“It was absolutely intentional. POTUS is a declared White Sox fan,” said Caleb Gardner, digital director for Organizing For Action, the non-profit successor of Obama’s 2012 Campaign, Organizing for America.
As a long-time White Sox fan, Obama, a former South Sider, has proudly displayed his sports fandom throughout his tenure in the Oval Office. In 2010, he wore a White Sox cap as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener. That same year, he weighed in on the fate of then-free agent NBA star Lebron James in a TNT interview, mentioning he would like to see him on the Bulls.
With no executive order on this issue, James ended up with the Miami Heat, where he led the team to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two championships.
Almost immediately after Obama went on his twitter following spree Monday, the buzz began and the Cubs replied to the President’s absence with a cheeky response on Twitter.
The Cubs acknowledge it’s all in good fun and said they appreciate the attention. The President’s Cubs non-follow was the lead on ESPN SportsCenter on Monday night.
“He once wore a Sox hat to a Bears game so I don’t think there was any big surprise, but it gave us an opportunity to have some light-hearted fun on social media and fuel what’s becoming an even more exciting Cubs-Sox rivalry,” said Green, the former Illinois and campaign press secretary to then-U.S. Senator Obama.
Green said the President may have even sparked ticket sales for the Crosstown Classic, which have boomed since Monday. The series between the two teams will be July 10-12 at Wrigley Field and Aug. 14-16 at Cellular Field.
“What reason would we have to be offended?” asked Green. “It’s not every day you can be linked to the President in the national news.”