Pity the White Sox and their fans. And believe me, I don't mean "pity the White Sox and their fans" in a "I'm a Cubs fan and therefore I look down on the other team in my city" sense, though it's not a surprise you might think that considering where you're reading this. I'm serious -- I actually feel bad for the White Sox right now. Here they are, in the World Series, and I keep seeing tons of articles talking about how Cubs fans feel about them being there. Are we glad? Cranky? Should we root for them? Against them? Madison Street (not Avenue, you Fox nitwits) has been fetishized into a baseball Hyujeonseon (look it up). Tomorrow, maybe someone will dig up Ray Rayner's old two-logoed hat and place it in the middle of State Street and people can take pictures straddling it like they do on the Prime Meridian
This is wrong. Believe me, I'm as self-obsessed about the Cubs as they come. Everything that happens in the baseball world goes through my "how does this affect the Cubs" filter. I pore over every story about Manny Ramirez for the remotest crumb of news that might show he'd be interested in a trade to the North Side. I read that Billy Wagner has ddecided to test the free agent market and I think, "well, they did just re-sign Dempster, but he could pitch the 8th instead." But when it comes to the Sox in the World Series, it's gone too far.
Here are just a few of the Cubs-related articles that have popped up on my Google News tracker over the last few days:
* The Root of the Problem For Cubs Fans
, from the Houston Chronicle. At least this one talks about the fact that the White Sox' opponents are rivals of the Cubs.
* Title Would Upset Pathetic Harmony in the City
, from the Sun-Times. Actually, Telander wrote that one so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.
* Even Some Cubs Fans Are Willing to Root For the White Sox in the World Series
, an AP story that showed up on a TV station website in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
* Cubs' Fans in World Class Dilemma
, from something called RealGMBaseball.com.
* Cubs Fans Struggle With White Sox Success
, a Reuters story published in the Daily Times (of Pakistan
!) that checked in with Chris Yarbage and Al Yellon but not us.
The unspoken assumption in these articles, and so many more, is that what Cub fan think about the White Sox is somehow newsworthy. It isn't. I know these reporters are just looking for a fresh angle, and I commend them for not writing the 34,239th article about Shoeless Joe (hey, did you know he hit .375 in the 1919 Series??!?), but there's gotta be something else worth writing about other than how the fans of a team not even in the World Series feel about the teams that are there. I don't remember any articles last year asking Mariners fans how they felt about the Cardinals being in the Series. Hell, I don't remember too many articles talking about how Yankees fans felt about the Red Sox being there, and that's an actual rivalry between two teams with more than a century of history.
I know, I know, there's more to Cubs-White Sox than there is to Mariners-Cardinals, or even Yankees-Red Sox. But contrary to what many may say, there's nothing in the Cubs Fan Handbook that says you have to root against the Sox. The two often go together, and it can be serendipitious when they do, but it's not like you have to swear an anti-Nellie Fox oath in order to get your first Old Style in the bleachers or anything. True, some might go too far the other way (like my Mom, who suggested last week that since I wasn't rooting for her White Sox, I wasn't a real baseball fan) but the truth of the matter is that, like any other large diverse group of people, Cubs fans have a lot of different takes on this issue. We're not all obnoxious 25-year-old management consultants who care more about scoping Trixies than what's happening on the field, you know. Some of us are 35, and haven't worked for a management consulting firm in a decade.
So the answer to "how should Cubs fans feel about the Sox being in the Series" is, simply, you should feel how you want to feel, and you shouldn't let anyone else tell you to feel a certain way. Are you jealous that they made it when our boys didn't? That's valid. Happy that someone is finally representing our city in the Fall Classic? Also good. There is no wrong answer. But here's the thing -- no one should really care.
Personally, I'm rooting for the Astros, but not out of any sense of anti-loyalty to the Sox -- I'm doing it because I can't stand AJ Pierzynski. It's as simple as that. I'm happy that guys like Biggio and Bagwell are getting their shot, but really it all comes down to hating AJ. Because I do. A lot.
Rather than focusing on that hate, though, I'm trying to focus on some more positive emotions, like being happy for the people I know are feeling really, really good right now. I'm happy for Vince Galloro, the writer of the best White Sox blog out there, Exile in Wrigleyville
. He has put up with my taunting (and, I imagine, much worse taunting from lots of other people) with grace and wit. I'm happy for David Schaffer, a family friend who is Senior Director of Park Operations at Comiskey Park, and lots of other White Sox employees who remember Bill Veeck, the South Side Hit Men, Winning Ugly, and even the Go-Go Sox. I'm happy for my Mom, because I'd be a bad son if I weren't. I'm happy for all the White Sox fans out there, even the ones who feel the need to come by TCR occasionally and talk about how much the Cubs suck.
I'm happy for all of them. Honestly. Do I wish my team was in the World Series? Absolutely. But when that does finally happen, I'll have the chance to bask in that success without the media constantly reminding me about some other team's issues. Fans of every team should get the same chance.
So go Sox. Or Astros. Whichever. Just pay attention to those two teams for the next week or so. They deserve it.
Except for that bastard Pierzynski.