Aug. 31, 2012
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CHICAGO — Five years after the first “Hawkeye Day with the Cubs”, the Black and Gold invaded the Windy City once again, and didn’t disappoint.
“It’s unbelievable seeing all the Black and Gold,” said NBA World Champion and former Hawkeye Bob Hansen prior to Friday’s Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. “Hawkeye fans have flooded Wrigleyville.”
Hansen and Iowa men’s basketball head coach Fran McCaffery were main contributors to “Hawkeye Day with Cubs” today. Hansen sang the seventh inning stretch, while McCaffery threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
McCaffery was asked before throwing out the pitch if he was nervous.
“Not at all. I never threw a strike when I was pitching, so I don’t know would I throw one today,” joked the third-year Hawkeye head coach. “But, I’ll get it near the plate.”
McCaffery brought the heat with his pitch sailing high-and-inside (for a right-handed batter).
McCaffery received a standing ovation when he took the mound and the Hawkeye fans’ chant of “Let’s Go Hawks” overtook Wrigley Field after the pitch.
“To see a standing ovation for coach when he took the mound was pretty cool,” said Josh Oglesby. The sophomore was one of three players who were in attendance to show support for their head coach. Junior Zach McCabe and senior Eric May were also at the game.
“I wanted to see coach throw out the first pitch, see Bobby sing and support the football team tomorrow,” said May.
McCabe was impressed with the support for Iowa and also the basketball team today.
“A lot of people have been saying `Go Hawks’, and asking about the basketball season,” McCabe said. “Everyone is excited about the state of program.”
McCaffery’s first-pitch heat must have fired up the home team because the Cubs jumped out to a 5-0 advantage over the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs took a 6-2 lead into the seventh inning when Hansen took the mic for the stretch.
“I’ll do my best to get the fans fired up and hopefully the Cubs come up with a victory,” said Hansen, who donned a number 24 Cubs jersey in honor of Hawkeye Heisman Trophy winner Nike Kinnick.
Come up with a victory the Cubs did, as the home team held on for a 6-4 victory over the NL West first-place Giants in front of 32,476 fans, many of whom were Hawkeye alumni.
“I did this for Iowa basketball and the marketing of Hawkeye hoops,” Hansen said. “Fran did the first pitch, so I’m glad I accepted. This was a blast.”
Both McCaffery and Hansen’s families will head a few miles down Lake Shore Drive to Soldier Field tomorrow to cheer on the Hawkeye football team in their opener.
“I’m very excited,” said McCaffery. “It will be another great day for Hawkeye fans tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the opening of the season.”
Iowa and Northern Illinois kick the 2012 season off at 2:32 p.m. (CT) inside Soldier Field in Chicago. Fans not able to attend the game can watch the opener on ESPNU.