This past weekend the City of Chicago was divided among color lines. On one side was Cubbie Blue, Red, and White,,, on the other was White Sox Black, White, and Silver. While the history of the Cubs-Sox rivalry on the field is only 11 years old it has fast become not just one of baseball's, but one of sport's greatest rivalries.
Its hard to explain the passion in this city for baseball and the love that the fans of the two teams have for their squads. Chicago is a professional sports town, yet the passion and rivalry that exists between the Cubs and Sox is more like a great college rivalry and the games have always lived up to the hype.
I have been to about 8 of these games and the ballparks are buzzing with excitement like no other game or event I have ever been to. Even a Springsteen concert has less adrenaline than the atmosphere of a Cubs-Sox game.
Fans of both teams have no love lost for the other team. I have heard many Cub fans say, "A perfect day is a Cubs win and a White Sox loss" and have heard many Sox fans say the same thing in reverse.
Unlike the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry these two fandoms are always in the same city. We eat at the same restaurants, drink at the same bars, or go to the same party's. Families are divided on loyalties as my own is. There is no place to escape the other fandom with the possible exception of the other teams ballpark when you are not playing each other.
I, for one, never want to go to US Cellular Field unless the Cubs are playing there. I have family who are smart, lifelong, loyal Sox fans, would never set foot at baseball's mecca Wrigley Field. Yet, we are still family and as long as I am not on a rant against White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen we have no problem being in the same room.
This weekend I was walking around my neighborhood and it felt like a college town with two colleges. I can't tell you the number of jersey's, t-shirts, and hats of both teams that kids, teens, yuppies, and seniors were wearing.
It is a special rivalry, unique to Chicago. The Mets and Yankees are from the same city but the Mets have only been around sicne the 1960's. When the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants left New York in the late 1950's that neighborhood, city rivalry left the New York Area. The Cubs and Sox have both been sharing the Second City for over 100 years.
Heading into this weekends games the two teams had played 60 times. The record,, Cubs 30, White Sox 30. Even more amazing was the fact the two teams had scored the exact number of runs in those 60 games.
While the Midwest is often second fiddle in coverage from the likes of ESPN and others, this year the rivalry is center stage in baseball. The Cubs, celebrating their embarrassing 100 year World Series drought, have the best record in baseball and are in 1st place in the NL Central. The White Sox are beating preseason expectations and are in 1st place in the AL Central.
The Cubs swept the series in exciting fashion which has me on cloud 9 today, but I know this rivalry. It would not surprise me to see the Sox come back strong at US Cellular Field, their home ballpark, next weekend.
In this series it just seems to be the way it goes.