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Cubs or Indians? Pittsburghers don't care for either World Series squad

| Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, 4:33 p.m.
Alex Rudel, 24, of Downtown takes a break in front of the Roberto Clemente statue during his walk around the North Shore on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2016.
Phillip Poupore | Tribune-Review
Alex Rudel, 24, of Downtown takes a break in front of the Roberto Clemente statue during his walk around the North Shore on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2016.

As he waited Thursday for Game 7 of the World Series to begin, Brett Silaggi had a hard time deciding which team he hates more: the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians.

Silaggi, a native of Chicago, grew up a die-hard White Sox fan. That spawned a hatred for the Cubs, the crosstown team, and the Indians, an American League rival of the White Sox's.

The animosity was exacerbated when he moved to the Pittsburgh area with his family at 14 and became a Pittsburgh sports fan. That produced contempt in him for all things Cleveland and sparked a stronger disdain for the Cubs, the Pirates' division rival.

“It was a Sox fan's worst nightmare,” Silaggi, 34, of Murrysville said of this year's World Series.

Pirates fans and Pittsburghers in general struggled to decide which team they disliked most, the Cubs or Indians.

Mike Parrish, 33, wouldn't call himself a baseball fan, but he generally is passionate about sports. Although he rarely tunes in during the baseball regular season, Parrish admitted a Game 7 in any sport is too good to pass up, especially when it includes two cities he would love to see lose.

“The question is, ‘Do I want Cleveland to be the City of Champions, or do I want the (Cubs') 108-year curse to end?' ” said Parrish of Braddock Hills. “I want neither, but the worse of the two is Cleveland being the City of Champions.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title in June, snapping the city's 52-year professional sports league championship drought. The Indians last were MLB champions in 1948, the second-longest drought in baseball behind the Cubs.

The Pittsburgh/Cleveland hostility stems largely from the Steelers/Browns NFL rivalry, in which Pittsburghers refer to the other city in such terms as “the mistake on the lake.”

Dave Frost, 40, made his decision based on each city's overall success in sports.

“Cleveland hasn't won in forever, and I know Chicago hasn't won in even longer, but they've won other things,” said Frost of South Park. “I like to root for the underdog.”

Tom Nigra, 58, of Duquesne Heights doesn't harbor ill will toward either team. He said he appreciates the Indians because of their current connection to Pittsburgh.

“I like the fact that someone from Western Pennsylvania is managing the Indians,” Nigra said of manager Terry Francona, who grew up in New Brighton, Beaver County.

Alex Rudel, 24, of downtown Pittsburgh attends 10 or so Pirates games a season and found solace in the fact one city's drought will continue.

“Either way, it's a win-win,” he said, “because one city will be crushed.”

Phillip Poupore is a freelance writer.

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