White Sox Vs. Cubs. A Rivalry?
Baseball is a long 162 game season where technically each game is equal to the next in value. But for some Chicago baseball fans there are six (sometimes obnoxiously four) games that have just a little bit more meaning than the others. Those being when the Sox and Cubs get together for what is now being called, The Crosstown Classic.
Personally, these are my favorite six games of the year. Although they count the same in the record book as any other game, they really do have something more to them. And if you have ever been to one of them in person, you can feel the difference in the atmosphere. Games are always sold out, (Yes, I know most Cub games already are) fans are always energetic and ready to go, and sometimes things even get a little feisty. But is it really a rivalry? Baseball already has some good rivalries with Red Sox/Yankees, Cubs/Cardinals, and Dodgers/Giants. But does the Sox/Cubs rivalry really matchup to those?
The answer is an easy no. What those previously mentioned rivalries have in common that the Chicago one doesn’t is of course that they play in the same league, same division, and play each other much more often. The teams see each other more, they can develop negative relationships more easily, and just naturally when you’re competing for the same division crown as the other guys, things get more competitive. That being said, I still think Sox/Cubs is a rivalry, just more of a fan service rivalry.
I have a lot of friends and even some family who are Cub fans. In all honestly its an obnoxious amount, especially since the Cub renaissance of the last four years or so. But of course, the Cubs are one of the most popular franchises in baseball all around the country anyways. It is for this exact reason that I love the Crosstown Classic so much! It is incredibly fun and competitive to watch a Cubs Sox game with someone who is a Cub fan. I love baseball in general but when you can be competitive with the guy next to you, it is an even more enjoyable experience for me.
The Sox are bad, like really bad. They are actually even worse than I thought they’d be and watching them can at times be incredibly frustrating. This is actually probably the worst Sox team I have seen in my lifetime. It just isn’t the Sox time and that is perfectly ok, hopefully the future will bring better things. But for the next three games I can watch a game and be excited when (more like if/doubtful) they do well. The Cubs are clearly a much better baseball team, but because baseball is crazy it is possible that the Sox take two of three in this series and that would be wonderful! I’d text all my friends who are Cub fans and ridicule them to my heart’s desire. They would say back “The sox suck,” and I would say “I don’t care, eat shit, Cubs suck, Go Sox!”
Looking back at their head to head competition is interesting. The Cubs were of course around first, but the Sox followed not to far afterwards. When Charles Comiskey decided to move his team to Chicago a law suit was actually filed against him by the then Cubs owner. Things obviously went the Sox way and they were allowed to stay. Comiskey even decided to name the team “The White Stockings” which was the original name of the Cubs, just to spite Cubs ownership. Many fans actually don’t know (or Cub fans try and forget) that the dearly beloved Harry Caray broadcasted for the White Sox before he ever did for the Cubs.
But onto their actual competitive play on the field. Prior to interleague play beginning in 1997 the Cubs and Sox had only played in exhibition games. Those don’t really matter so I won’t go into those. Oh actually, there was this one time where the heavily favored Cubs who won 115 games that year lost to the “Hitless Wonder” White Sox in the World Series. But I mean whatever right? It’s a World Series that was over 100 years ago. No Sox fan would ever bring up something that happened 100 years ago in a discussion like this. (or something that didn’t happen for over 100 years if you catch my drift)
Ok so actually on to the regular season history. As of May 9th, 2018, the Sox and Cubs have played each other 112 times in the regular season, with the Sox holding the edge 58-54. Which for little to no reason, makes me happy inside. There have been some very memorable meetings in the past 21 years between the two clubs. There is of course the time when actual biggest catching douchebag Michael Barret punched super loveable, don’t have a bad word to say about him, World Series champion catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the face. One might think this was because Pierzynski did something like super douchey, but in all reality the Sox were the champs at the time, the Cubs were awful, and Barret is a huge douche. Barret was a douche, have I said that yet? Moving on, there was that one-time Carlos Zambrano had to be separated from Derrek Lee in the dugout after being lit up by the Sox. In 2008 both the Sox and Cubs were in 1st place in their respective divisions when they met up for each series. This was really cool, and I believe is the only time this has happened. People were talking Chicago all World Series all summer long. This added even extra electricity to already very electric set of baseball games. Both teams of course went on to lose in the division series however. Sox losing in four, Cubs getting swept I might add. Besides that the really hasn’t been much to separate their games from any other on the schedule. There have been some great finishes though. I don’t exactly remember specifics, but I know Aramis Ramirez walked it off for the Cubs once, that same Pierzynksi dude hit a go-ahead homerun in the top of the 9th at Wrigley which followed with Cub fans throwing trash onto “beautiful” Wrigley field, as well as Carlos Lee hitting a walk off grand slam which I see tweeted out every single year.
Overall the Sox Cubs rivalry really isn’t a rivalry. The games don’t matter anymore than the others, they aren’t competing for anything that matters, and they may never even see each other again in the World Series. It is a fun experience for fans to compete for bragging rights, and great opportunity to talk shit to your friends when the Cubs lose the series even though the Sox are terrible. If you have never been to a Sox Cubs game, I strongly suggest it. It really is a unique baseball experience, and I would argue it’s the closest thing you can get to a playoff experience during the regular season. I am so glad its here, it’s one of my favorite times of the baseball season, and I’m glad it gives me something to look forward to in September when they meet again. And hey, hopefully by that time Kopech will be striking out Rizzo and Eloy will be hitting bombs off Quintana. Who knows though, maybe they Sox rebuild actually works and in 2020 we could be talking about that all Chicago World Series. Either way, enjoy the Crosstown Classic, I hope it never goes away. Go Sox!