We at the 35th Street offices try quite often to separate ourselves from what goes on with Chicago’s minor league team, what with their olde-timey ballpark, antiquated scoreboard and centuries-outdated views on race relations and whatnot, but company business had us in the vicinity of Wrigley Field during today’s showdown with the Cleveland Indians. It took the Small Bears 12 innings to defeat the worst team in the American League Central, which we generally agreed was a good thing.
But was it good enough? Sure, a team we all hate took a loss, but another team we all hate got a much-needed win, and suddenly one of the grand flaws of interleague play came to light: in moments like these, we have no choice but to accept that only one of our enemies can fail at once. And this, it seems, is not enough.
In certain times, of course, we all find ourselves becoming temporary fans of the Mariners, Orioles or even (gag) Yankees in those crucial series down the stretch. How many times have we told ourselves we’ll be alright as long as Team A takes two of three from Team B while Team C fares no better than a split with Team D, but only if Team E sweeps Team F? Dozens? Hundreds? Millions?
And yet, those times were all completely justified because they were (probably) at crucial points in team history and the Sox were also (probably) still alive but, more importantly, probably did not involve two teams you actually hated with a passion. Lots of Sox fans despise the Yankees, but nobody despises both the Yankees and Rangers so a late-season showdown with the two is fine. Instead, here we sit in late June, the Cleveland Indians bringing summertime and awkward existential questions.
Do we want the Cubs to win? Or do we just want the Indians to lose? Or do we want them to just not lose, or perhaps even win at great emotional expense, an epic sporting Pyrrhic victory for the ages?
Or, alternately, do we just want a summer where the difference between the third-place Sox and the last-place Tribe is a little more than two notches in the win column?