Two weeks ago in this space, former Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung lamented the lack of celebrity White Sox fans. Well, here's another one: Michael Gross, best known as Steven Keaton from the '80s sitcom "Family Ties." Gross's horror flick "Tremors" has been airing as part of AMC's nine-day Monsterfest, which concludes tonight.
Are you a real White Sox fan or a bandwagon White Sox fan?
Kind of like a bandwagon White Sox fan, but I come from a long line of White Sox fans. I grew up as kind of an anomaly in the city of Chicago -- my father was a White Sox fan in a Cubs neighborhood. The Cubs are essentially the North Side team and the Sox are the South Side team and never the two shall meet. But when my father was a young man, before he moved to the city, most of his relatives were South Siders, so he became a dedicated White Sox fan. We took a lot of good-natured ribbing in our time.
Were you following the playoffs closely?
Pretty closely, although I have to say I bailed out in that 14-inning game. I thought, 'Oh God, this can go on forever,' and I had a deadline.
What did you have to do, what was more important than this?
I'm actually taking a creative writing course. I love writing as well as acting, and I had something due. Every writer looks for reasons to procrastinate, and I can't think of a better one than the World Series, but I finally had to sort of put on my yoke of discipline and go back to what I was putting off. I'm actually writing a piece, a short story about a man in Chicago, in my old neighborhood. A fictional character who has obsessive compulsive disorder.
A Cubs fan or a White Sox fan?
You know something, that hasn't come up in this story, but if this story gets extended to a novel he'll have to pick a team, and he'll be one of those savants who knows all the box scores from every game that's ever been played. But you know, I grew up in a Chicago with names like Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox. It's great, it's sounding again like a United Nations team. Naturally we've got a Juan Uribe, but we've also got great old names like Pierzynski and Podsednik. This feels like a Chicago team when I grew up in the '50s.
How do you feel about Cubs fans?
As they say, some of my best friends were Cubs fans. I bear them no animosity, and I honestly feel the Cubs have gotten a bad rap as this Chablis-and-Merlot team of yuppies. Let me put it this way, Chicago is an industrial town -- [Carl] Sandburg and 'the City of Broad Shoulders' and all that -- so both teams were working-class teams. Wrigley Field just got surrounded by development and the neighborhood came up, and it's gotten this reputation as this sort of yuppie team, but I still don't think of it that way. I think of both Chicago teams as working-class teams. . . . You know something, I root for both teams because I love Chicago. I wish I could play favorites, but my favorite is that town, the whole town itself. . . . It's been a long wait. I have to tell you, I'm thrilled that my father saw this in his lifetime. It's been 88 years, and I think my father's gonna be 87. So he just made it.
Is he pretty excited?
Oh he's thrilled, he's thrilled. Dumbfounded, too. Sort of stunned disbelief that something like that finally came through. My understanding is the top is blowing off the city. I wish I were there.
-- Dan Steinberg