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Cubs, Sox fans choose sides on opening day at Naperville bar

Signs tell Cubs Sox fans where they belong Crosstown Pub Grill Naperville.  |  Brian Powers~Sun Times Media

Signs tell Cubs and Sox fans where they belong at the Crosstown Pub and Grill in Naperville. | Brian Powers~Sun Times Media

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Updated: May 3, 2013 6:34AM

Cubs and Sox fans are divided on a lot of things, including where to sit to watch the opening day games Monday at Crosstown Pub and Grill in Naperville.

A strip of blue duct tape divided the eating area of the pub with signs marking separate sections for Cubs and Sox fans. The bar area also was divided, as fans of both teams rubbed elbows and sipped beers.

Cubs fans dominated early on in the afternoon, and the South Side faithful showed up a little later for the Sox game.

Jim Nichols, owner of the bar on Ogden Avenue, usually only does the divided bar when the teams play each other, but with both teams opening up their season on the same day, he saw a good opportunity to try it again.

Manager Jason Podlasek said that fans of both teams seem to have an interesting attitude this year.

“Usually, we get more Sox fans in here than Cub fans, and there hasn’t been a lot of ribbing yet,” he said early in the afternoon. “I’m not sure either group feels their team is going to be all that great this year.”

Cubs fan Tom Wojcik, of Naperville, took Monday off to watch the opening day game.

“I don’t worry about the trash talk from Sox fans, and I’m a big enough guy to take care of myself,” Wojcik said. “I think having the bar divided like this is a clever way to keep things segregated, and I’m kind of disappointed in the number of Sox fans here today. As far as my team goes, I’m not an optimist. I’m guessing about 75 wins this year tops.”

Watching opening day at a local hangout is a tradition, said Mike Eckerle, of Aurora.

“Getting together with my friends here on opening day is something we’ve done for the past four years,” Eckerle said. “We make bets on the season. The wager is always a bottle of single-barrel Jack Daniel’s. I have two of them in my basement.”

He isn’t very optimistic about the Cubs this season.

“If they win, it’s nice, but we don’t expect it,” he said. “The best thing about being a Cubs fan is the Blackhawks or Bears or someone else to root for.”

Karen McDowell, of Naperville, comes a family of longtime Sox fans. She turned out to sit on the Sox side of the restaurant and root for her team.

“I raised my son Mike to be a Sox fan,” she said. “There was never going to be any other choice.”

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