But here’s something it is: tired. This is simply a dumb series to be playing every single year.
Back when all we had was city pride, and 20 years ago, crosstown play was novel, and fun. Remember how cautious both teams were to avoid scheduling weekend or night games as part of the rivalry, lest the entire city of Chicago burn with the fire of hatred between teams?
Both clubs have won World Series in this century, which takes a little edge off of things. And if anything, it’s the South Side who would lament a loss of crosstown play, because the Cubs have done a better job than we have of moving on. They’re perennial contenders now, while we, well, what are we doing, again?
What hurts is that in my lifetime as a fan, dating back to Hit Men, we’ve never really been the Cubs. Essentially from 1950 to 2000 the Cubs were Lovable Losers (yeah, yeah, the four Hall-of-Famers unable to win a single division late 1960s-early 1970s notwithstanding). Their fans actually dug that, I guess, wore it with pride: Loyalty (and Old Style) makes the pain go down easier?
The White Sox weren’t much better, but they were better. From 1951-67 they had a streak of winning seasons that set some sort of American League or baseball record, I’m currently too disenfranchised to look it up again. From the 1970s onward they didn’t see playoffs any more than the Cubs, but the teams were consistently competitive. That’s all I ever want from my team; gimme reasonable hope we can do something this year. Break my heart in August or September, no worries man; I’m a White Sox fan, my heart is scarred.
But now, there’s this new climate, where the Cubs realistically shoot for 90s wins, playoffs, Series every year, and can have insipid works written on them subtitled “the audacious blueprint for a Cubs dynasty,” and the White Sox are the unlovable losers. I can’t abide that.
In a broad sense, interleague play is fine, but the conscripted “rivalries” need to go. The novelty has worn off, no matter how many brawling mascot promos NBC feeds you.
And in a specific sense, playing this rivalry every year now hurts, because it reminds me of what we once were. And the last team I want reminding me of that are the Ivy Bumblers.
So, heading into play today, White Sox Game Notes offers it straight, no chaser:
- The White Sox are a season-high 16 games under .500 (I would think “season-low” makes more sense here, it’s their wording, not mine, but perhaps these are little tells at how important a high score on the 2018 Tank-o-Meter is at 35th & Shields.)
- The 9-25 start is its second-worst in club history (8-26 — one game worse! — in 1948). And the White Sox’s worst 35-game win-loss mark was 9-26 in 1948 ... so there’s a chance we make some history today.
- The White Sox are now the worst team in major league baseball. Yes, that is including the Cincinnati Reds as part of major league baseball. Tanking aside, you’ve got to credit the White Sox for proving uncannily adept at doing the opposite of what they’re supposed to on a baseball field.
- The Sox are 14-9 over the last 23 games at Wrigley Field, allowing three runs or less 15 times during that span. They have won five of the last nine games and eight of 14 at Wrigley Field.
- The White Sox lead the all-time series, 58-54, going 30-26 at Guaranteed Rate Field and 28-28 at Wrigley Field.
- José Abreu has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games vs. the Cubs, batting .361 (13-36) with three homers and six RBI. He is a career .323 hitter with five doubles, three homers, eight RBI, three HBP, five walks, six multihit games and a .943 OPS in 17 career games vs. the Cubs.
- White Sox pitchers own a 2.70 ERA, .201 opponent average and 82 strikeouts in their last nine games at the Cubs.
Yolmer Sánchez is hitting cleanup today, with Nicky Delmonico leading off. It’s just ping-pong balls coming out of the hopper at this point, folks.
Is everybody in?
Is everybody in?
Is everybody in?
The ceremony is about to begin.
Tyler Chatwood is 1-0 in two starts in his career vs. the White Sox, with a 1.35 ERA.