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

Contractor Jim Gorman places duct tape Crosstown Pub Grill Naperville show which side is for Sox fans which is for

Contractor Jim Gorman places duct tape at Crosstown Pub and Grill in Naperville to show which side is for Sox fans and which is for Cubs fans on Monday, opening day for both teams. | Brian Powers~Sun Times Media

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Updated: April 2, 2013 6:28AM

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 clearly denoting separate sections for Cubs and Sox fans. The bar area was also divided, as fans of both teams rubbed elbows and sipped beers.

Cubs fans dominated early on in the afternoon, with the South Side faithful showing up a little later due to the later start time of the Sox game.

Jim Nichols, owner of the bar on Ogden Avenue, said he usually only does the divided bar look for interleague games when the two teams play each other, but with both teams opening up their season on the same day, it seemed like a good opportunity to do 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 fans like Naperville’s Tom Wojcik admitted to taking the day off of work to watch opening day.

“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.”

Mike Eckerle of Aurora said that watching opening day at a local hangout is a tradition for him.

“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.”

Eckerle also said he wasn’t very optimistic about the Cubs’ 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 from a family of longtime Sox fans. She turned out to sit on the Sox side of the restaurant and root on 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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