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michael barrett aj pierzynskiLast 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.

  • ssckelley

    The White Sox seem to have a “little brother” syndrome going on. They are the 2nd rate team in the city so these little wins they get mean everything to them. I find it funny that more Sox fans show up at Wrigley to show up the Cub fans than go to games at the Cell. Chicago is a Cubs town and it isn’t even close.

    We have the same thing going on here in Iowa when the Hawkeyes play the Clowns.

    • itzscott

      >> They are the 2nd rate team <<

      Really?

      Not only have they won a WS in my lifetime, but also my father's and grandfather's.

      • ssckelley

        Seriously? What the hell does winning a World Series have to do with what team the city of Chicago favors? Chicago would go absolutely crazy if the Cubs were to ever win a World Series.

        What are you a friggin Sox fan? Chicago is a Cubs town and it isn’t even close.

      • Edwin

        They’ve won a world series in 2005, 1917, and 1906.

        I don’t really see how the generational winning thing works out here.

        • D-Rock

          He must be counting the one world series they won in 2005 as the one that covers him, his dad, and his grandpa. That was pretty funny.

          • Edwin

            Maybe he’s part of the Mandelbaum family.

      • notcubbiewubbie

        amazing that sox fans pay attention to chicago cubs fansites.the inferiority complex will always be there even if they win 20 world series championships.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      This quote from Paul Konerko says it perfectly:

      “Konerko: Our fans care a lot how we do vs Cubs. (I’d say) more than their fans care about how they do vs us. I’ve never taken that lightly.”

      The Cubs have a true rival in the Cardinals. Because the Sox lack a true rival, the Cubs are their de facto biggest rivalry and these games mean much more to Sox fans than they do to Cubs fans.

      • ssckelley

        “The Cubs have a true rival in the Cardinals.”

        This, exactly right….losing to the Sox is annoying because of their fans but losing to the Cardinals makes me throw up. The Cubs are 6th in the NL in attendance, granted a ton of no shows but the tickets are still being sold, for a last place team while across town the Sox are 14th in the AL in attendance for a team above .500 and might be in the playoff hunt.

        • mjhurdle

          “This, exactly right….losing to the Sox is annoying because of their fans ”

          Fortunately, if you can manage to avoid prisons, Walmarts, and trailer parks, you can keep contact with Sox fans to the bare minimum.

          • ChrisFChi

            ^this

    • DocPeterWimsey

      You see the same thing with Mets fans: it is as much about hating the Yanks as it is about liking the Mets. However, the Yanks’ real rivals are the Sox: Yankee fans seem largely indifferent to the Mets save that the Mets often act as a retirement home for former Yankees!

    • Funn Dave

      I think you may have missed the spirit of the article.

  • rc24jr

    ya well thank god i don’t work with any white sox fans!

  • jp3

    I forgot how good Barrett could hit

    • jp3

      Other than that AJP hit he did have a couple nice years with us.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Yeah rc24jr, my best friend is a Sux fan and I lost $20.00 to him since the Cubs lost the series.

    • ssckelley

      Tbh, dumb bet to make in the first place.

  • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

    It does mean the Cubs still can’t lay off a lefty breaking ball

    • Edwin

      I think Danks is more a changeup guy than a breaking ball guy, at least if you’re talking about last night.

  • Thiscantbegood

    I could see this series down the road to be very significant, but it would be more of the lines of the Cubs being the best team in the NL and the White Sox being the best team in the AL. It could be a preview for a World Series between both Chicago teams. What are the odds of that ever happening? Basically impossible. So for now this series doesn’t mean anything for me either, both teams are pretty bad in their own division. Yes the White Sox are above .500 but they aren’t a contender and neither are the Cubs for that matter.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Memo to Mgr Rick– Castro cleanup experiment has run its course- flip him with Rizzo next game

  • Diehardthefirst

    Pleeeeeeze– this series would mean everything if Cubs won 3– bad losers not becoming to BN citizens- if last goes to Sox then should line up like Hockey and handshakes

    • Myles P

      To be fair, I said these same sorts of things last year before the Cubs swept. I do not like this series. I haven’t for a while.

  • Senor Cub

    Barrett was the last guy to hit .400 for the year, at least in my book. Aw how fun was that day, the memories…

    Brett – well put! I like you of course want the Cubs to win however in 2014 for me it’s not about the wins its about who is improving and who is regressing. I don’t like this bullpen more than any of the past years. I really thought this year would be much better in terms of bullpen help for the future. I just don’t see it. I was hoping Barney would have improved however I am glad he isn’t because at least now we know he doesn’t have much value for the Cubs. I haven’t yet learned any of the new faces and none of them will be here in 2016. The really good news for me is that Castro, Rizzo, and Shark are having really great starts thus far.

    • Chad

      I think the future of the BP looks better. Guys like Rosscup, Ramirez, and Rondon have shown good stuff. Grimm has most of the time. The guys that are letting us down mostly are ones that likely aren’t in the future: Veras, Wright, and Russel. Strop has been ok outside of a few outings, and Villanueva has been interesting as a swing man, but again is he part of the long term future? With some young guys like Vizcaino and Rivera in the minors I’m happy with the BP’s future.

      • Zoolander

        Jose Veras has been a bust with this 15.88 ERA and his 10 walks in 5.2 innings of work. His salary of $3.85 million to date has been money flushed down the toilet…at least so far for another “lost” Cubs season.

        Francisco Rodriguez was signed by the Brewers for $3.25 million and is 14 of 14 in save chances with a 0.00 ERA.

        Apples to apples comparison boys. Rate the judgement of the FO on this example.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          You cannot call anybody a “bust” after 5 2/3rds innings of work. (Heck, 52 innings means nothing!)

      • Melrosepad

        Chad, why are you lumping Wright in with Veras and Russell? Wright has two walks on the season and they were both in the first game he pitched in which was over a month ago. He has also only given up two runs on the season which was on April 4th, also over a month ago. Since that two run game he has pitched 7.1 innings with 10 Ks. Seems like he isn’t one of the problems.

        • auggie

          I was also about to point that out. After a rough start to the season Wright has really turned it around.

    • ssckelley

      FYI, Myles wrote this article not Brett.

      • Diehardthefirst

        With Brett’s permission tho

        • Myles P

          He also gives me hall-passes to walk around when passing period is over.

  • Diehardthefirst

    When Obama leaves office will he sing 7th inning stretch for each team? Mayor Rahm should

  • Diehardthefirst

    In fact after every game in every sport should be handshakes like Hockey — good lesson for kids

  • Diehardthefirst

    Sutcliffe says Theo underestimated how bad Cubs were- does he get 10% of Theos next contract if more than 5 yrs? Another reason to blame Ricketts too? Caveat Emptor

    • Zoolander

      Theo’s work in Boston was outstanding for sure, however, he didn’t have to develop a team from the ground up. Many of us were concerned about very topic, but Theo was brought in as the new prince of baseball. The big league team, under his leadership, has proven that far that his plan was far from perfect. In fact, it was flawed.

  • fortyonenorth

    I enjoy Myles’s posts but they occur seldom enough that I never “expect” them–I simply assume it’s a Brett-penned article, in most cases. With that in mind, I always get a chuckle when I’m reading along and encounter a line like: “On Monday I was walking with my girlfriend through Wrigleyville…” Dude’s got his hands full…the family, the wife, the blog, the girlfriend…

    • Myles P

      Ha, I chuckled aloud at that last line. Well done.

  • Funn Dave

    It’s pretty ironic to read an article about how the Sox-Cubs “rivalry” is overrated and fabricated and overly contentious, and how we should respect our fellow Chicagoans, only to see a bunch of people bashing the Sox in the comments.

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