Memories forever as Cubs trophy tour stops in St. Joe

St. Joseph residents Lisa Sutton and Mike Niemi were second in line at 3:40 AM.
Congressman Fred Upton chats with Cubs Manager of Safety and Security, Cheryl Morley, along with Heather Way-KItzes, manager of Government and Neighborhood Relations for the Cubs.
World Series trophy arrives at St. Joseph High School. Notice the white gloves.
92-year old Norris Arent currently living at the Whitcomb.
The line to see the Trophy this morning.

Memories forever as Cubs trophy tour stops in St. Joe

 

            They began lining up at 3:30 AM to be one of the first 500 to get their picture taken with the Commissioner’s Trophy, given to the World Champion Chicago Cubs.

            Eric and his son Ryan Suender were first, coming from Clarkston, MI., about 2 ½ hours north of Detroit, and then Lisa Sutton and Mike Niemi from Niemi from St. Joseph. Matt and Jennifer Bisig from Hobart, IN arrived at 3:40. IN. Why so early? “I wanted to make sure I was on time,” Mike said. “I came so he didn’t have to stand in line alone,” added his wife.

            And so it was as St. Joe turned “Cubbie Blue” with hats, shirts, flags and mementos that could be taken with the trophy. The first 500 (including family members) fans were given wristbands, guaranteeing a picture with the trophy. Members of the St. Joe Lions club assisted staff handing out the bands, taking coats and directing traffic. 

            Congressman Fred Upton had his hand in setting up the visits in St. Joseph and Kalamazoo. “I’m a big Cubs fan and they actually called me”, explained Upton. “I’m friends with Mike Lefrano (Sr. Vice-President of the Cubs) and asked if I could pick the day. We agreed on February 20 because it was a federal holiday and I knew I would be home.” Upton also arranged the visit in Kalamazoo.

            Heather Way-Kitzes, Manager of Government and Neighborhood Relations for the Cubs was overseeing the day’s activities. “It’s incredible to be here with the fans” Way-Kitzes said. She estimated that tens of thousands of fans have seen the trophy and had their picture taken while on tour.  “There are lots of die-hard fans. For some it’s family tradition with multi-generations.” Next stop for the trophy after Kalamazoo will be the Cubs Spring Training Camp in Arizona.

            One of those was 92-year old Norris Arent currently living at the Whitcomb. He was brought to the viewing by his daughter, Bev Mathis from Grand Rapids and his niece, Tami Richardson of Paw Paw. The family always gets together for Thanksgiving in Coloma and has a family portrait taken. This year all 60 had Cubs shirts on for the portrait.

            Mike Klug of St. Joseph was the 501st person arriving at 9AM. “I’ve been a fan for over 30 years. I was a little disappointed at not getting a wrist band, but it still looks like I’ll be able to see it.”

            Mike Poluhanycz of Benton Harbor may have been one of the last to view the trophy, arriving at 10 AM. The program was supposed to end at 10:30, but an accident at exit 23 in Stevensville delayed the trophy arrival by 30 minutes.

            The public relations firm handling the tour operated like clockwork. Fans had their coats taken and placed on a table by the Lions Club before getting to the trophy. They then gave their cell phone, I-pad or camera to one of the workers who took one picture for them, group or individual.

            Does anyone want to guess how many shares? Thank you to the Cubs organization and Fred Upton for bringing the trophy to St. Joseph and for memories on top of memories of a memorable season.




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