CHICAGO – Indians star second baseman Jason Kipnis had a crowd of locals cheering him on as he hit that clutch three-run homer at Wrigley Field Saturday night.
Kipnis was raised in the northern Chicago suburb of Northbrook, just 15 miles away from the Cubs’ ballpark, and he’s now back playing against his hometown in the World Series. Kipnis grew up in a family of Cubs fans.
“I was a die-hard Cubs fan growing up. I was born a Cubs fan, I’ll die a Cubs fan,” his older brother, Todd Kipnis, told Fox 8 News at Wrigley Field Saturday. “But this year, and as long as he’s wearing a Tribe uniform, I’m rooting for the Tribe.”
The family’s allegiances have shifted for this World Series. Todd Kipnis, along with the player’s other siblings and parents, were sporting Tribe gear and cheering on the Indians from behind home plate Saturday.
Other supporters were in the stands, too. One woman held up a sign reading “Northbrook for Kipnis” with a Wahoo.
Todd Kipnis said his brother, who lives in Chicago in the off-season, has struggled with the matchup. On Thursday, Kipnis tweeted a photo of himself in the ivy along the Wrigley outfield wall with the caption “Say what you want. I’m living a dream.”
Todd Kipnis said the family was hoping the Tribe would face any other team in the World Series.
“I’ve lost sleep over which team I’m rooting for, but family comes first,” he said. “I’d rather be a good brother than a good fan, so it’s Tribe gear all the way.”
Judging by Kipnis’s performance on the field, he’s been able to put his struggles over the matchup aside.