“Chicago Fire” cast members talked a big game before facing off against their “Chicago P.D.” counterparts at the first WhirlyCruz Cup Saturday at WhirlyBall in the Logan Square area, and they looked the part as well.
“Fire” actors wore Blackhawks sweaters with their respective characters’ last names stitched on the back. “P.D.” cast members wore T-shirts with Topanga from “Boy Meets World” on them because, according to “P.D.” actor Jesse Lee Soffer, it was the only shirt that there were nine of at Urban Outfitters. “Fire” also had the edge in the roster department. There were twice as many players on the “Fire” roster as there were on “P.D.’s,” including the night’s host, WhirlyBall enthusiast Joe Minoso. His “Fire” co-star Christian Stolte boasted beforehand that “Fire” would go on “to dominate and punish ‘P.D.’”
Clearly, “Fire” had the game in the bag, right?
“Unfortunately, the WhirlyCruz Cup went to ‘P.D.’ this year, which is kind of devastating,” said Minoso, who plays firefighter Joe Cruz on “Fire” (hence the WhirlyCruz Cup name). “I really thought ‘Fire’ was going to be able pull it out. … I figure it gives us a good excuse to make this happen again next year. … On our side, Steven McQueen might have been the MVP. On the “P.D.” side, I’m not giving them an MVP. They don’t deserve one.”
The charity event raised money for the 100 Club of Chicago, which benefits the families of first responders who died in the line of duty. The choice of a WhirlyBall fundraiser was a unique one and made for a fun and loose environment. The game is a combination of hockey, basketball, lacrosse and bumper cars. For many of the participants, it was their first time playing.
“(Minoso) has waxed lyric about it for almost the three years we’ve been doing the show,” said “Fire” actor Eamonn Walker. “This is the first time he’s managed to get me in the building. … My first words were ‘Am I going to get hurt?’ And they said, ‘No, of course not.’ But I didn’t quite believe that.”
It appears Walker got the hang of WhirlyBall in the end — well, at least the steering part.
“Eamonn was hunting me down the whole time in this last game,” said “P.D.” actor Patrick John Flueger, another WhirlyBall first-timer. “He ended with him just running me into a corner. (He) knocks me in a corner and goes, ‘Guess who?’”
The “Fire”-“P.D.” game was followed by a tournament featuring guests and celebrity captains, one of which was retired Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood. Brian Tee has been filming “Chicago Med” in town since last month and was also on hand but did not partake in WhirlyBall. “Med” — like “P.D.,” a spinoff of “Fire” — is expected to premiere Nov. 17.
McQueen is also new to executive producer Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” franchise, having been added to the “Fire” cast in July. The former “Vampire Diaries” actor and grandson of late actor Steve McQueen said he has already been suggesting more competitions for the playful “Fire”-“P.D.” rivalry.
“I think we should do a boxing thing: firefighters vs. police officers,” McQueen said. “I tried throwing that idea in the mix. We’ll see if it happens.”