Today marks the first of six games between the Cubs and the White Sox in the next ten days. They've been playing each other in games that count every season since 1997, and the Sox have the advantage, 20-16. I've been to a few of the games, only one at Comiskey, way back in 1997, and the Sox won 3-0. The Cubs are 4-1 at games I have seen at Wrigley against the Sox. Last year was the first time I did not attend a game between these two teams.
And I'm not going this year either. I have to admit that I am not that interested in it any more, since both teams are competitive and have playoff aspirations. When the Cubs were putrid a few years back, I admit it was nice to beat the Sox, but it still did not alleviate the fact that for yet another year, the Cubs were non-contenders.
I've explained before why I am a Cubs fan instead of a Sox fan; when I was a kid, the Cubs were more accessible on TV. I was five in 1972 when I discovered baseball. I'd go to kindergarten in the morning, come home and eat lunch, take a nap, and watch the Cubs when they were at home beause they had to play during the day since there were no lights at Wrigley Field then. Even when the Sox were on TV, they were on a station that we couldn't get at our house, so I never got to see them.
There is no doubt that the Cubs are more popular in Chicago than the White Sox are. No doubt the Sox have a loyal fan base, but to the average fan, the Cubs have a better appeal. First, there's no omparison between the ballparks. Comiskey is nice (I refuse to call it US Cellular) but Wrigley is a shrine, and it is also in a nicer neighborhood (when we were kids, there was no way my father would have taken us to a Sox game, yet we went to Wrigley at least once a year). While it has balanced out recently, for most of my life the Cubs were much more accessible on television, both in Chicago and the rest of the nation.
Those are superficial reasons. I respect Sox fans. I am truly bothered though by the perception that I get from a majority of them that they have a huge inferiority complex when it comes to the Cubs. If you like baseball, both places are fun to go to. There's no doubt that the atmosphere is better around Wrigley, but from a pure baseball aspect both parks are quality places to see a game. Yet I know many Sox fans that cannot concentrate on the positive aspects of their team, they instead seem more concerned with ripping the Cubs, Wrigely Field, and the neighborhood.
I'm labeling here, but I get the impression that a lot of Sox fans check the Cubs score first before they do the Sox, and are hoping to see a Cubs loss of course. I think that the first rule of thumb for a Sox fan is to sometimes be an anti-Cub fan first. What sense does that make? Worry about the Twins, the Royals, the Indians, teams in your decision that can do much more damage to Sox playoff hopes than the Cubs ever could.
Baseball history in Chicago, for lack of a better word, sucks. Neither team can really point at the other and say that they have accomplished more. The Cubs haven't won a championship since 1908, the Sox since 1917. Think about how many people have lived and died since then. Chicago needs winning baseball. I was crushed last year when the Cuns blew their chance to win the World Series, but if it was the White Sox playing the Marlins for the title, who do you think I would have rooted for? Definitely not the Marlins. If the Sox were playing the Cardinals for the championship, do you think I'd root for the Cardinals? I'd rather vote for Bush than do that...
I love the Cubs. They play 162 games per season, and I want them to win all 162. As far as I am concerned, I hope the Sox go 156-6, and guess who I want those 6 losses to be against? Would I feel unbelievable pangs of envy if the Sox got to raise a championship flag before the Cubs? Absolutely, but if not the Cubs, why not the Sox? Chicago needs a baseball champion, period.
I can say though, that if things were different, and I had grown up a Sox fan, that I would not be one anymore. Not that I would necessarily be a Cubs fan, but after the 1994 strike, when the man who owns the Sox orchestrated the strke that blew the teams best chance of winning, there's no way I could support that team.
These days I need to devote all my negative energy to the Cardinals. I did something foolish a few nights ago, and the Cubs paid for it. The played three games this week in St. Louis and won the first. I did not watch it (I'm burning at the baseball stake, remember?). The next night I was also not watching, yet I heard that they were winning late in the game 9-5, so I anticipated that they would be going for a sweep the next day. My beloved nephew, who now lives near St. Louis and has seen the darkside by becoming a Cardinal fan, was going to receive a present in his email inbox, several photos of every broom that is currently in my home.
Of course, I have this thought, and the Cubs blow that game and the next, losing two of three to the Cardinals and falling further behind them in the standings. Note to self: lay off the taunts until the action preceding it comes to fruition.
This weekend while the Cubs play the Sox, St. Louis plays in Kansas City. I may scream "Go Cubs" the loudest, but my "Go Royals" yell will be right behind it.