Jim Harbaugh calls World Series game ‘signature moment’

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Jim Harbaugh

Ann Arbor – Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who attended Sunday night’s World Series game in Chicago with his parents and wife, said he’s rooting for the Cubs even though his father, Jack, his a lifelong Indians fan.

“Definitely I find myself Cubs, Cubs, Cubs,” Harbaugh said Monday at his weekly news conference. “I’m with (defensive line coach) Greg Mattison rooting for the Cubs.”

Harbaugh, who threw out the first pitch of a Cubs game in July, was shown on television during Sunday’s game wearing a Cubs hat and Michigan sweatshirt, next to his father, Jack, who was wearing a Michigan hat. Jack, a Crestline, Ohio, native, attended last Wednesday’s World Series game with his son-in-law Tom Crean, the Indiana basketball head coach.

“We had a great time. It was a tremendous atmosphere,” Harbaugh said. “It was one of those signature moments being at a World Series game with my dad, my mom and my wife Sarah. It was outstanding. He’s been very excited. It means a lot to him. It’s real.”

The Harbaughs sat in left field with tickets from former Wolverine Fritz Seyferth, whose nephew Chris works for the Cubs and said he so enjoyed that vantage he probably will sit there again for future games.

Harbaugh, who took his baseball glove to the game, has said he wanted to be a major leaguer when he was growing up and loved the World Series experience.

“It’s a little bit like ice cream, though,” he said. “It’s so good, it’s good to be back to football. Football you could do every day. Baseball is almost too much fun. Like ice cream, you couldn’t eat every day.”

Jim Harbaugh gloves up for Game 5 at Wrigley

After saying he is rooting for the Cubs, he then listed his favorite teams, in order.

“I really love the A’s, love the Tigers, Cubs for me, got feeling for the Pittsburgh Pirates and also the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians, and the San Francisco Giants,” he said. “There’s an order there. I have several favorites.”

Jack Harbaugh in a Father’s Day story that appeared in The Detroit News in June 2015, said Jim has always brought a baseball glove to games.

“He brings a glove, and he will insist on sitting somewhere where there are no obstructions, so when the ball is hit, there’s no screen it can go into,” Jack told The News last year. “If it’s hit at his section, he wants a clean shot at it. He claims he has 19 balls he’s gotten at the games and he claims they aren’t batting practice balls, but ones he got during the games at some point during the nine innings.

“The ball comes, no matter who’s around him, it’s everyone for themselves. He will get on the concrete and crawl on his hands and knees to retrieve the ball. We did this at San Francisco last year at the Giants game. A couple people behind us weren’t as aggressive for the ball, and we had to apologize that (Jim) works on a different frequency.”

Recipe for success

Tight end Jake Butt and center Mason Cole were sick last week but played admirably against the Spartans. Harbaugh used the opportunity remind everyone about his formula for avoiding illnesses.

“We’ve got to build some immune systems -- more push-ups and more whole milk,” Harbaugh said. “Jake and Mason were two of the more sickly during the week. They both responded (in the game). I’ve always said this, too, I experienced playing some of my best games with a temperature. There’s something that makes you focus much more during a game.

“More hand sanitizer and more push-ups and whole milk on tap this week.”