The Sun-Times‘ Chris De Luca posits the Cubs-Sox rivalry may have outlived its usefulness “unless these teams meet again in the World Series.”
De Luca argues that, since the North Side Cubs-Sox series is scheduled for a Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, the misguided hostility and externalized rage of years past is all but dead. As though Major League Baseball wasn’t totally aware that ticket sales would be down this season and also wasn’t totally aware the Cubs-Sox games would sell out no matter when they were played, and didn’t move three guaranteed sellouts to dates that would otherwise draw only the bare minimum number of collar-popping alcoholics to Wrigley Field for a 1:20 game against the Pirates.
Of course there’s also the quote from Ozzie Guillen that he’d rather play against the Tigers, Indians or Twins than the Cubs; De Luca somehow angles this as a manager giving up on local history, forgetting that, in strict baseball teams, games against the Tigers, Indians and Twins carry significantly more weight in the scheme of things.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Cubs-Sox has nothing to do with baseball and everything to do with everything else. Standings? Division races? Alfonso Soriano? These things mean nothing in June. Nothing. Someone thinking someone else’s baseball allegiance is incomprehensible and indefensible? That matters all the time.
“They’re just two teams in the same city,” some like to say. Those people are hopelessly wrong.
Take a stroll around East Lakeview, then take a stroll around Bronzeville. Try to convince me that’s the same city. Prove to me those two areas have anything to do with each other. Explain to me what Orland Park means to Highland Park. Sell me on the idea that every single thing that goes in Chicago doesn’t hinge on putting my guy before yours, then sell me on the idea that each team’s fan culture isn’t antithetical to the other.
One demands the best even though it has no reason to; the other first embraces failure, then rewards it. One clings to a self-created mythology while the other has such a pedestrian history it almost doesn’t bear repeating. Perhaps the games mean less because there are more of them, but the actual games never meant much anyway.
It’s the Everything Else that counts.