ScoSports Chicago Blog: Why the Cubs-White Sox Rivalry Should Not Exist

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Chicago, Illinois.  Home of an NFL team, a NBA team, a NHL team, a MLS team, an AHL team, a WNBA team, a professional ultimate frisbee franchise and two MLB teams.  A city of several smaller but more distinct ethnic communities that collectively form the nation’s third-largest city.

On the city’s North Side, the Cubs reside in the Wrigleyville neighborhood in Lakeview, while the White Sox and their only slightly better results in the past century play ball in the South Side’s Bridgeport neighborhood, just south of the famous Chinatown.

This city is not New York, residents do not identify themselves as being from Queens or Brooklyn or Manhattan, but rather just as Chicagoans, with either the North Side or South Side being presented with some frequency.

Even when the sides of the city are presented, the only meaning it holds in the sporting world is in baseball.  Someone from Queens will be a Mets fan and you are more likely to find a Nets fan in Brooklyn than you are in Staten Island or The Bronx.  In Chicago, it doesn’t matter where you live, you are most likely going to be a Bears fan or a Bulls fan or a Blackhawks fan.  There is no sense of “I hate the Bears because they are on the east side,” or “I hate the Bulls and Blackhawks because they play on the west side.”  For the most part, with the Packers and Cardinals fans aside, Chicagoans are used to rooting for their great city.

So why is it that when the city has the privilege of hosting two major league teams in one sport that almost never play each other head-to-head (just four times a year and the teams have met in exactly one postseason series, and that series has long passed, taking place in 1906), that the city must be divided, hating the other team that represents their city just as much as the team they support does?

Chicago won its first baseball championship since 1917 when the White Sox swept the Houston Astros, who at the time were divisional rivals of the Cubs (e.g. a rivalry that actually matters), in the 2005 World Series.  Instead of a huge city erupting into celebration, only the smaller portion of the city that supported the White Sox rejoiced in the glory of being the best team in the world.  For Cubs fans, many were rooting for their rivals from Texas over their home city they held so dear, missing out on celebrating the city’s first major championship in seven years since 1998, when both the Bulls and the expansion team Fire took home league championships.  The Sox, who at the time played the Cubs six times a year (a figure that has since be reduced), had beaten the team that the Cubs played fifteen-to-sixteen games per year, almost ten percent of their 162-game schedule.

So why is it that the team who had inflicted more pain to the Cubs record-wise historically, and the team that had by far the largest direct effects on the Cubs, losing such a dreadful thought for the North Siders?

The fact of the matter is that two passionate fanbases collide when placed too close together, and neither will ever understand entirely how irrelevant this rivalry is and that each team is capable of bringing reason to celebrate to the great city of Chicago.

Even in the scenario where both teams face off in a World Series, it should be seen as a blessing that no matter what happens, at least it will be the same city winning it all as opposed to another city like New York or Los Angeles.

This is not to say that all intra-city rivalries are irrelevant, as some hold more value than others.  For example, the three NHL teams residing in New York City and its suburbs: the New Jersey Devils, the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers all play in same division and have faced each other several times in the postseason.  These teams directly contribute to the failures of the others in a way the Cubs and Sox never will (barring major league realignment).

Forget Barrett and Pierzysnski.  Whether you are a fan of the Cubs or the White Sox, next time you see your “huge rivals” in the playoffs in a year in which your team falls short, embrace them and root for this great city to come out on top of the baseball world.  You know how this can feel if approached right, Chicago has a fresh taste of winning in its mouth thanks to the 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

  1. zack owens says:

    I agree I love the sox and the cubs

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