Last year I wrote a fairly wordy piece on why I have distaste for the “Crosstown Classic or Cup or Whatever.”
While my feelings have not changed, I do however want to rehash some things.
On Monday I was walking with my girlfriend through Wrigleyville to our favorite bar on Clark Street (we were getting ready for a game of our own. Softball actually. We’re athletes just like the Cubs!). As is normal on game day, Sheffield in between Addison and Waveland was closed off so fans could get safely into Wrigley. As we walked down the closed-off street, we saw about a 50-50 split on Cubs/Sox gear. It was fairly quiet as people buzzed about.
And then we heard it: “LET’S GO WHITE SOX!” This was immediately followed with the rebuttal of: “LET’S GO CUBBIES!”
This continued throughout the bleacher crowd as they made their way up the concourse into the stands (I assume that they picked a chanting winner upon finding their seats).
But as we walked, I kept thinking about what had just happened. There was a lot of significance and meaning in those two chants. Sure, both chants proclaim the chanter’s team as superior. But let’s delve a bit deeper.
First, when the White Sox fan comes to Wrigley and says that he would like his team to be the one that “goes,” what he truly wants is to show the Cubs fan up. He wants his team, the away team, to be able to be louder and more obnoxious than the home team’s fans. Because how great would that be? Not only would the White Sox fan have the support of the 20 or so people that show up at the Cell every game, he has support in another stadium. It makes the home team’s fans seem insignificant and unimportant.
For the Cubs fan, his chant is much more complicated and perhaps even a bit more important. His team is the home team. And Wrigley is his house. How can he let a fan from the another team (in the same city no less) be louder and more obnoxious than him? He can’t. The goal in his response of wanting his team to be the one that “goes” is simply a retaliation. But there is a crucial difference from the White Sox fan: he has to chant. He has to respond. Because if he doesn’t, then that fan wins and chaos would ensue.
For the White Sox fan, he has nothing to lose. The Cubs fan on the other hand, has everything to lose…
Obviously, I kid. But my point is that there really is only thing at stake in this crosstown series: fan’s pride. That’s it. Is this a little over-the-top in describing what goes on? Sure. But the fact remains: This series is for us, the fans. Let’s keep that in mind when attending or watching these games.
The White Sox aren’t a true rival for the Cubs. The Cubs are not a true rival for the White Sox. They don’t play each other down the stretch for playoff contention. They play this series to give fans something they want: healthy city competition, something to talk about at work… But they are no rival. They simply play in the same city.
If the Cubs get swept, oh well. If the Cubs win this last one at the Cell, great. We improve our W/L record and move on. Or we don’t and we still move on.
I should clarify however that while I don’t have a passion for this series, I of course want the Cubs to win. But bragging about that only gets me so far for my White Sox friends. Know why? Because they respond with, “Hey, remember 2005?” Sure it was 9 years ago. But it’s 9 years versus, I don’t know, over 100 years. This is all in good fun. It’s not serious, because the series really doesn’t matter. This isn’t the Cardinals, Brewers, Reds, or even the Pirates. Those teams matter to us.
It makes my heart hurt to see Chicago pitted against itself. This series tends to bring out the worst in fans. I just wish and hope that people keep this in perspective.
I will never utter the phrase, “It’s just a game.” Because it’s not to a lot of us that read this blog. It’s more. However, within this game that means so much to us, there are series that mean more than others. This series is one of little significance. Let’s just have fun with it and take it for what it is.