Chicago baseball disappoints again — so why do we settle?

Is this us? If so, is this who we are, having both teams almost in unison singing the same ol’ hopeless song of “Wait Till Next Year,” with an entire city their backing vocalists?

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White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.

Tim Anderson’s reaction to striking out sums up the feeling of White Sox and Cubs fans this season.

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

And so, the new, true, next, second season has begun. The one where both our baseball teams are fighting for a back end probably as meaningless as Ever serving Pequod’s pizza. (If you watch “The Bear,” you’ll understand.) By now, we should be used to it. Comfortable living, like the games after the All-Star break are the official beginning of our vacation from both Cubs and White Sox franchises. Like something we’ve just accepted.

Question is: Is this us? Really us? An accurate representation? If so, is this who we are, or is this who we’ve become over the vast majority of baseball seasons for decades, having both teams almost in unison singing the same ol’ hopeless song of “Wait Until Next Year,” with an entire city their backing vocalists.

It was just three years ago when both squads played in the postseason at the same time. That, though, was only the third time in both ours and their lifetimes that’s ever happened. Before then, 2008 was the year, but neither got out of the Division Series, and before then was when they played one another in the 1906 World Series (Sox won that one). But the unattractive prettiness of both the Sox’ and Cubs’ second halves this time: Mathematically, they’re both still in play to win their divisions and make the postseason. Yes, the Cubs are six games under .500, but they’re only seven games behind the Brewers and Reds, and 7½ behind the Giants for the final wild-card spot. Yes, the White Sox are 17 games below sea level, but, thanks to the AL Central being inarguably the lamest single-season division in recent MLB history, they’re only eight games off the Guardians as Kings of the Deplorables. (Thanks, Hillary.)

Question is: Is that enough for this city to hold onto? To get us to and through the approximately 70 (or next seven) games before the mathematical reality robs us of our emotional delusion that one of our teams will still be playing games beginning Oct. 3?

You’d think that us being the only single-county (Cook), single-mayor city in the country with two teams, we wouldn’t have these problems. (Note: Los Angeles County has one team, the Dodgers, while the Angels are in Orange County; the states of California, Florida, Missouri, Ohio and Texas have multiple teams, but each team represents a different city within each state; New York has the Mets and Yankees, who reside within the city of New York but represent two different boroughs — Queens and the Bronx, respectively, with each having borough presidents, which is equivalent to having different mayors, and, by jurisdiction, each team is in a different county than the other, Queens County and Bronx County, inside of New York’s metropolitan area). You’d think that on the regular, at least one of our teams would be in the hunt after baseball’s midsummer divertissement. The fact that we aren’t and have twice as many opportunities as every other city to do so only makes it thrice as pitiful.

Between a want and a demand is where this hinges. While lovingly losing ain’t cute, worse is accepting “LL” as a nickname — and celebrating it. We know better. We really do. We know better than to year-after-year-after-year engage in this and still pick up the tab when both teams leave us sitting at the table midway through our annual date. But knowing better doesn’t mean we’ll do better.

Understand, the goal here is to not dump lumps of lignite coal on the city. Never that. The goal is to stop us from settling. Settling for — or simply being cool with — beneath-respectable representation from our baseball teams for months on end that bleed into years on end. Because this is not directly about the Cubs and Sox collectively. It’s about them both being indirectly adjacent to an acceptability behavior pattern that we’ve grown used to and have simply accepted as our end-of-July/August/September/no October lives.

What do we do about it, most will ask. Fake it until they make it. Make it seem like our comfort in their sorriness has the power to make them uncomfortable. Bitch and bleat until both teams get way better at at least teasing us to make us think they’re interested in being to us what the Yankees are to N.Y. or what the Dodgers are to L.A.

Question is: Is that possible? Has it ever been? Real talk, nope. Because if all else stays “as is,” as it always has been, and the second half of this baseball season for Chicago is a duplicate of the first, then the single silver lining we can all share is the unified ability to say that we got to (hopefully) see Liam Hendriks display the spirit and perseverance over the final 2½ months of the season that is representative of what baseball in this city should stand for. But rarely ever does.

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