08 October 2005
Memo to the South Side
It happened again tonight. I was watching the news. Top story: White Sox complete a three game sweep of the Red Sox with a 5-3 win at Fenway earlier today. So do they show highlights? No. Interview any of the players? No. The first thing they do is go to a reporter camped out at a sports bar to get "the local fans reaction."
Yeah, because we need to see folks who have been drinking since noon talk about a game they can barely remember, rather than see how the game was won.
Hey, any Chicago baseball triumph is reason enough to celebrate. I am not begrudging anyone for having a few when your team is winning.
So after the obligatory shots of the crowd jumping, screaming, hooting and hollering after the game, they get around to talking to some of the crowd.
And what's the first thing out of the mouth of the first person?
"Take that, Cubs fans."
Why? Why can't Sox fans get past their hatred of the Cubs? Memo to Joe Sox Fan: you just won a playoff series for the FIRST TIME SINCE 1917. The first thing that comes to your mind is to say something bad about the Cubs?
Two years ago, when the Cubs beat the Braves in the first round, how long do you think it took me to say "take that, Sox fans!"?
(The answer is two years, obviously, and I was only doing it for effect).
Now, I'm sure that there exists a Sox fan or two somewhere in the metropolitan area that isn't thinking about the Cubs tonight. I don't mean to label all Sox fans, but this is ridiculous. Every year, I hear the same thing:
(When the Cubs sell out every game, while the Sox struggle to fill half the park): "Nobody goes to Wrigley to watch the game, they go to hook up and be seen."
"Cub fans like to go and watch them lose, Sox fans only go to the park when the team is winning." (though that would not explain the crappy attendance their this year)
Then there's the media bias, because the Cubs are owned by the Tribune Company, which owns WGN, which has broadcast Cubs games for the past billion years. Never mind that the Sox are also on WGN as much as the Cubs. This year, all 162 games for each team were on TV somewhere, except one. And if you don't think the Sox are getting media attention, you haven't picked up a newspaper here for most of the summer.
I have heard many, many, many times that Cubs fans really don't care about the team winning, so long as they have a good time at the game. Until he was traded away after last year, the version I heard of this was "You don't care if they won or lose, as long as Sosa hits a home run."
Well, most of the Sox fans I know seem to fall under the same trap: they don't really seem to care if they win or lose, so long as the Cubs lose.
Again, I am sure that I have mislabeled some of the Sox fans in this town. It just seems like every one of them is an anti-Cubs fan first, and a Sox fan second.
I have stated previously that as a Cubs fan, I couldn't care less what the Sox do, except for the six games they play against the Cubs every season. As far as I am concerned, the Sox can go 156-6, so long as the six losses are to the Cubs.
I don't hate the White Sox. I don't really know any Cubs fans that do. I don't CARE about the Sox. I think of them as just another team in the league. Well, with exceptions. If the World Series comes down to the Sox and St. Louis, who do you think I will want to win? As a Cubs fan, I cannot possibly root for St. Louis. How could I live with myself? It would be like Reagan defecting to the USSR in the mid 1980's.
The Minnesota Twins are the White Sox main rivals. Ask an average Sox fan who they would root for if the Cubs were playing the Twins in the World Series. I bet more than 2/3 would say "Go Twinkies!"
Now, should any Sox fan happen to read this and accuse me of sour grapes, I'd say you're wrong. I am not jealous of you. To imply jealousy would mean that I would not want them to win it all simply out of spite.
I am, however, completely, insanely and totally envious. I want what you have, the experience of thinking that this is it, finally, the year that the team is going to do it. This is the year that a Chicago team wins the World Series.
Of course I am! My life will not be complete until I see the Cubs and "World Series Champions" on a T-shirt somewhere. I have lost sleep over the fact that I may die before this happens.
I used to think that the most impossible thing in my life was for me to get married someday. I was wrong about that. Now my greatest fear is that I will never get to see the Cubs win it all. Sox fans have that dream in the palm of their hand right now, and it is getting closer to the point where they can actually smell it, and they can envision tasting it.
Whether they will get to taste it or not remains to be seen, but for the love of God, can you just enjoy this while it lasts? Take it from me, it can go away as fast as it arrives. Ask me how confident I was in 2003 when the Cubs needed to win only one of three possible games left against the Marlins to make the World Series. I was one confident puppy. Four days later, I was one shattered puppy; a million little pieces. I am still finding them in the oddest places.
Should the White Sox lose either in the ALCS or the World Series, I will not climb to the highest point in the area and mock them. Hell, if they lose to the Yankees or the afore mentioned Cardinals, I will be disappointed.
However, there are other teams out there in the playoffs that I might be compelled to root for should they go up against the Sox. Atlanta and Houston are teams I wouldn't mind see winning. That's not a slam against the Sox. In my mind, the Sox are just another team along with the Braves and the Astros. Both Atlanta and Houston have more players on their teams that I respect and admire more than I do the White Sox.
It's not about rooting against. It's about rooting for.
Here's what I don't understand about all this: if you took two guys into a room, locked them in it and then informed them that one was a die hard Sox fan, and another a die hard Cubs fan, they'd probably argue for a while. But if you took both of those guys and sat them together at Soldier Field to watch the Bears against anybody, they's high five each other whenever the Bears did something good, or their opponent screwed up.
It's about Chicago.
So if at the end of the month the White Sox are popping champagne, I will at least be resigned to the fact that for once in my time on the Earth, I saw a team from Chicago win a baseball title. Think about this: how many people do you know who were born in 1917 and are still alive? How about 1908?
The Sox haven't won a WS since '17. The Cubs since '08. Personally, I don't know anyone who was alive then. That's a COMBINED 183 YEARS of BASEBALL INEPTITUDE. It's a miracle that any of us even leave our houses.
If the Sox win, I don't begrudge their fans anything. I will be envious as all hell, but that does not mean I wish they didn't win. So please,enough about the Cubs. They are not relevant to the success or demise of this team anymore. You had your shot at them. You beat them three times, and they beat you three times. If the Sox win, I may be the first to congratulate them.
Unless I see or hear someone make a reference to the Cubs within 48 hours of winning. Then all bets are off.
Please, don't make me look more of a fool than I already am.