Dear Chicago baseball fans,
How great is it to be a Chicago baseball fan right now? I mean, seriously how cool is it to see both the Cubs and White Sox leading their divisions and have the two best records in baseball? A city hasn’t had this much success since the Mets and Yankees played in the World Series in 2000.
For Chicago fans, this feels very reminiscent of 2008, when both the Cubs and White Sox won their divisions. The Cubs were the favorite going into the season, and they backed it up, winning 97 games. Meanwhile, not much was expected of the Sox that year, but a furious rally in September, capped off by their “Mission Impossible” journey of beating the Indians, Tigers, and Twins in three consecutive games, helped them win the AL Central.
This year seems just like that as well. The Cubs came into this season as the betting line favorite, with a lot of people banking on their young players taking that next step and getting to the World Series. So far, they’ve done just that, compiling a 25-7 record and an 8 game lead already in the NL Central. They’re not just winning, too. They’re destroying teams, amassing a run differential of +103 in their first 31 games, the highest in the World Series era. Their offense has been raking, and their pitching has also been great as well. I know it’s very early still in the season, but this is exactly the start the Cubs needed. They’re setting the tone as THE team to beat, and they haven’t let the high expectations phase them yet (see: Astros).
Meanwhile, on the South Side of town, the Sox have surprised a lot of people (including Sox fans) by getting off to a 23-11 start. They currently hold a five game lead in the Central, a division that features the defending World Series champions in the Royals. The White Sox have been doing it with pitching and defense, similar to how they did it when they won the championship in 2005. Chris Sale is having a Cy Young-type season, starting 7-0 with an incredible 1.79 ERA. Jose Quintana has been equally as strong, going 5-1 with an even lower 1.38 ERA. The addition of Todd Frazier has bolstered that lineup as well, as it seems all the pieces are falling into place for the Sox to make a serious run come October.
So, my plea to all Chicago fans is this: please celebrate your team winning more than being mad the other is having success. Because neither of these teams really get to succeed often, so wouldn’t you rather be happy than mad?
I can understand the anger that comes from Sox fans towards Cubs fans. Sox fans feel like the Cubs get all of the attention because “they’re the Cubs” despite not winning anything in 108 years. Sox fans almost feel like 2005 is considered an after-thought by most people, and that nobody really remembers (nor cares) that the Sox even won the World Series 11 years ago.
Also, Cubs fans like to talk a lot when their team is winning (I’m guilty as charged). We talk, though, because we don’t get this often. There was a five-year stretch from 2010-2014 where the Cubs were abysmal. They lost 100 games in a season (twice) for the first time in franchise history. In my lifetime (since 1994), the Cubs have made the playoffs four times, which isn’t all that often. So, when the team is actually doing good, the fans would to voice their love for their team and pump their chests about being good because maybe, just maybe, this is the year the curse is broken. This upsets Sox fans to no end, as they can’t stand to hear all the talk about ending the curse.
So I do understand where White Sox fans are coming from. I understand how Sox fans feel they get the “little brother” treatment not just from the media, but most Cubs fans as well. Personally, I’ve never looked at the White Sox as a rival to the Cubs because, simply put, it doesn’t matter if the Cubs beat them or not. That’s not the case with Sox fans, though. They almost NEED to beat the Cubs to prove that they belong. It’s a rivalry for them more so than it is for Cubs fans, and that’s how it always will be.
At the end of the day, I know I can’t change everyone’s opinion. However, if we could just put down the pitchforks and raise a beer to our teams playing well, then everyone would be a lot happier. Regardless of your affiliation, be happy that both teams are playing well right now. Be happy that YOUR team is playing well right now. And be happy the great city of Chicago is the center of the baseball world right now.
Austin Hough, Chicago baseball fan