Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Annual State of the Cubs v. Sox Address

It seems it’s that time of year again: time for me to make my annual “I hate the Crosstown Classic” speech. In case you’re a new reader, this is kind of like the State of the Union address, but not televised. Nor about America. No, it’s about the plague known at the Cubs-Sox series.

And what better way to start, than with a famous quote? "Cubs fans are Cubs fans," said White Sox second baseman Chris Getz of the rivalry. "White Sox fans are White Sox fans." Alright, so the quote itself isn’t that famous, nor is Chris Getz, but it’s the “WTF” nature of the statement that describes the rivalry perfectly.

These games are, of course, meaningless in terms of division standing. This year, it’s a bit different, since both teams are out of first (and second, and, in the Cubs’ case, third) place and need all the wins they can get, but these games have always been more about indulging the rivalry than about baseball.

If the Sox were playing the Twins, for example, we’d discuss pitching and the struggling offense or something of that nature. With this series, I’m discussing the intense rivalry. I’ll try to keep it short, but I must insist on throwing the words “cringe-worthy,” “painful,” and “frustrating” in here to describe this time of year for me.

"Personally, if I was from Chicago and I was a fan, I would assume I would be a fan of both teams," White Sox center fielder Brian Anderson said. "It's something I never really understood. I would be more partial to one team come World Series time, if they were to play each other. But it surprises me baseball fans from Chicago don't root for both teams."

Don’t get me wrong, I am a diehard Sox fan. And I love the Sox, and I hate the Cubs. But, when most of the season these teams do not affect each other in any way, why should there be SO MUCH hate? These games should be treated the same way any other series is: you hate the opponent and then you move on. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and I often find myself frustrated and in an argument with some loud-mouth who finds my Sox paraphernalia offensive. Even worse, I find myself ganged up on, because the Cubs- win or lose- have more support in terms of number and not enough die-hard knowledge in one person to have a decent argument without backup.

Does any other city go through this? Sure, we can agree to all love the Bears, but that’s only after we’ve made a few jokes about the various stereotypical ways our respective neighborhoods are represented and jabs at some of the more well-known players.

I found this on the SouthSideSox Twitter: From HomeRunDerby.com, [ the best Sox v. Cubs commercials. ] Overall, they are like the rivalry itself: vaguely amusing, but mostly cringe-worthy.

In conclusion: There are traditions. And there are stupid traditions.

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