Do you plan on watching Monday’s game between the Cubs and Reds? Don’t skip the pregame show or you’ll miss seeing a certain Peru barber.
Lori Keenan, owner of Tony’s Barber Shop, has been named an “authentic fan” by NBC Sports Chicago, the last one so dubbed for the 2019 season. Keenan sat for a Monday interview with the sports network and could be recognized in Chicago as she cheers the Cubbies on to a playoff berth.
Excerpts of the interview will be aired on NBC’s pregame show scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Monday and additional excerpts will be broadcast on Wrigley’s screen at various points during the game.
“Oh, it was so exciting. I had butterflies the whole time they (the film crew) were here,” Keenan said. “It’s an honor of a lifetime.”
Keenan is a La Salle native and third of six children, all of whom grew to be Cubs fans like their father. Ernie Banks remains her all-time favorite player but among the current roster she’s a big fan of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
She began cutting hair at Tony’s in 1980 and took over ownership of the Peoria Street barbershop in 1999. She dates her love for the Cubs back to 1965 and grew misty-eyed when NBC editor John Nock asked her about the 2016 championship that had so long eluded her and other die-hard fans.
“Look around this barber shop,” she told Nock when asked what makes her an authentic fan. “Thick or thin, I stick by my Cubbies. We waited a long time for that World Series (and) we got it.”
Among the gifts that NBC brought with them Monday were cardboard placards recognizing Keenan as an authentic Cubs fan, which is not to say customers couldn’t have deduced this for themselves. The barbershop walls and shelves are covered in Cubs memorabilia and all were gifts from customers with sense enough to appease the lady holding the scissors.
Keenan acknowledged that she does trim the hair of White Sox and Cardinals fans, too; but all comers need to know the Cubs game will be on in the background while she runs the clippers. Fans of rival teams can reasonably expect Keenan to proselytize, too.
“You can bet that when they leave I try to convince them that Cub fans are the way to be,” she said.
Keenan has Peru businessman Larry Criss to thank for being recognized. Criss saw a teaser for the authentic fans competition, nominated his longtime friend and, voile, she was in.
“I saw the TV commercial and I kept saying, ‘Someone should nominate Lori,’” he recalled. “Lori knows almost everybody in town.”
Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or TCollins@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_Court.