Like many young baseball fans growing up in Chicago’s suburbs, Jason Kipnis dreamed of playing in the World Series at Wrigley Field.
It was a lifelong dream he finally got the chance to live out this week. But the difference was, in his childhood dreams he wore a Chicago Cubs jersey.
Growing up just a half hour drive from Wrigley Field, rooting for the Cubs was all the Northbrook native had ever known. That is until he joined the Cleveland Indians.
“I’m experiencing something not many people get to experience by playing in a World Series at home,” the 29-year-old said.
Now the players and fans who are still wearing the jerseys of his home team are one loss away from heartbreak and, in part, they have Kipnis to thank.
“I’m trying not to overthink things,” he said. “I’m trying not to worry about allegiances or who’s rooting for who. I got a job to do and that’s between the lines. That’s kind of my safety zone, where I can just go and not worry about any other distractions.”
The distraction isn’t as easily avoided for Kipnis’s two brothers, Blair and Todd.
“We were admittedly a little bit conflicted as their playoff paths started pointed towards each other,” Blair Kipnis said.
All three brothers had always been Cubs fans.
“I’ve lost sleep over it,” Todd Kipnis said. “I’m not going to lie.”
But this week family is taking precedence over fandom.
“I was at a Wrigley Field bar when they clinched against the Dodgers, cheering along with all my friends” Blair Kipnis said. “And I said to all of them, ‘It was fun being a Cubs fan this year, but this was my last night doing it.’”
It’s a World Series run that has at times been challenging for the tight-knit Kipnis clan.
“The Cubs are built for a dynasty these next few years, all their players are young” said Todd Kipnis, shaking his head. “Let the Tribe win this one, let the Cubs win the next five.”
Although his hometown may be cheering against him, Jason Kipnis says it’s his family’s loyalty that means everything.
“Seeing them in red and seeing them behind home plate, it calms me down,” he said. “My close friends and family haven’t let me worry about for a second who they’re rooting for, and that’s been special to me.”