UIC coach thrilled to take turn on south side

CHICAGO -- Throwing the first pitch at Wrigley Field last week prior a Chicago Cubs game was a thrill for Illinois-Chicago coach and Chicago native Howard Moore.

But Moore admitted with him being a Chicago White Sox fan, it was a slightly bigger deal to throw the first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field prior to the White Sox’s game against the Boston Red Sox on Friday.

“I’ve always rooted for the Cubs,” said Moore, who will enter his third season at UIC. “I don’t hate the Cubs, but I’m just a little bit more favored toward the Sox.

“You grow up in the city; you’re like, ‘How often do you have an opportunity to do both ballparks in one week?’ It’s great. I love it being a Chicagoan, growing up loving both and kind of growing toward the Sox as I got older. It’s a great thing.”

What got Moore to lean toward the White Sox as a youngster was an incentive by the Chicago Public Schools.

“Growing up, the public schools always gave free tickets to kids with perfect attendance back in the 80s. As a kid, my carrot was to go to school to get perfect attendance every year, so I could get my White Sox tickets. That’s what sucked me in. When you talk about winning ugly season in ’83, I was hooked.”

Friday marked the second time Howard threw out the first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field. What made his first time especially memorable was meeting his childhood hero Harold Baines.

“He’s on my Mount Rushmore of sports heroes,” Moore said. “They had a surprise for me. They walked me right up to him and said, ‘Coach, we want you to say hello to Harold.’ I was 10 years old again. It was great.”