Casual Observations of a Chicago Sports Fan

Eric Schroeder

 

A lot is going on in the Chicago sports scene at the moment: big free agent signings for the Bears and playoff preparations for the Bulls and Blackhawks. Underneath all of this is the beginning of the baseball season for the Cubs and Sox, two teams whom not much is expected from. Despite that, though, there will still be the fierce intercity rivalry of the Northside versus the Southside. This rivalry dates back to 1906 when the teams first met and played at West Side Park, then home of the Cubs. The White Sox won that game 2-1, beginning a rivalry that is now over 100 years old. The Sox have a slim lead in the all time record 49-45.

This rivalry certainly has had its highlights over the years with some vivacious personalities in both dugouts. Back in 2006, a brawl broke out between the two teams. Then Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski ran into Cubs catcher Michael Barrett at the plate. Barrett dropped the ball, and AJ was safe. As AJ went to walk back to the dugout, Barrett turned and punched him in the jaw, leading to a bench-clearing brawl. The Sox went on to win that game 7-0. Four years later, Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano had a dugout meltdown after giving up four runs to the Sox in the first inning. He went off on teammate Derek Lee. Zambrano was benched and then suspended indefinitely for his conduct.

These moments epitomize the struggles of the Cubs over the last 100 plus years as they still wait to win another World Series. They have failed to even appear in the Series since 1945 and hold the title of longest amount of time without a title in the big four sports (baseball, basketball, football and hockey). The Sox, on the other hand, won the title in 2005 and continually compete for the top spot in the American League Central. While in a bit of a slump recently, the Sox are geared up for one of their best seasons since that 2005 title.

With that being said, this year’s Crosstown Classic will be one to watch. The first game this year is May 5 at Wrigley Field. The teams play four straight games, and the Sox should be able to extend their lead in the all time record.

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