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Polling Place: Does the Cubs-White Sox rivalry still have the juice?

Despite the novelty of Cubs-Sox games having worn off — and even in a world gone mad — many voters are still bleeding blue or black as if nothing else matters. That’s hardcore.

Chicago White Sox’s A.J. Pierzynski, right, is safe at home after he collided with Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, left, during the second inning of a of a baseball game Saturday, May 20, 2006, in Chicago. After the play, Barrett punched Pierzynski resulting in a bench-clearing brawl. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) ORG XMIT: CXS105
Chicago White Sox’s A.J. Pierzynski, right, is safe at home after he collided with Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, left, during the second inning of a of a baseball game Saturday, May 20, 2006, in Chicago. After the play, Barrett punched Pierzynski resulting in a bench-clearing brawl. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) ORG XMIT: CXS105
AP

The Cubs-White Sox interleague rivalry dates back only to 1997, but it has had a few distinct periods.

There were the early years when both teams’ fan bases still felt the desperation of massive World Series droughts. There were the middle years when Sox fans waved their 2005 flags around like weapons of trash-talking destruction. And there are the recent years when Cubs fans have been able to do all the chest-puffing and chirping.

After 20-plus years, though, let’s give things an honest look: Does the rivalry still have all its potency and powers? Does it get fans’ blood pumping as hot as ever? That was the first of three Cubs-Sox topics in this week’s “Polling Place,” your weekly home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter.

“No way,” commented @estereo. “It felt like more was at stake during the early days of interleague. Cubs-Sox was a hot ticket in the early 2000s, from what I remember.”

In 2020? Not so hot. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that there are no tickets.

But there’s lots at stake this season. Why? Because, as @hotrodexpress astutely pointed out, “Both teams are in the hunt.”

That has a pretty nice ring to it, from where I sit. On to the polls:

Poll No. 1: Does the Cubs-Sox rivalry fire you up as much as it used to?

Upshot: You’ve got to love the “A” crowd, and by “love” I mean be wary of their every move. Despite the novelty of Cubs-Sox games having worn off — and even in a world gone mad — these beautiful maniacs are still bleeding blue or black as if nothing else matters. That’s hardcore.

Poll No. 2: Which would you rather see at playoff time?

Upshot: I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see “C” coming. What happened to choosing one side and hating, or at least pretending to hate, the other? “To me,” @HOHBigPhil wrote, “a true Cubs or Sox fan would want to beat the other in the World Series. So I’m going ‘both in.’ ” Interesting. Score one for Big Phil for the outside-the-box thinking.

Poll No. 3: Which team is closer to a World Series?

Upshot: The Sox are on the rise, but the Cubs have pitched a lot better and still carry the scent — even if it has gotten fainter — of their 2016 World Series title. If we ask the same question next season, might the results be reversed? “The Cubs are ‘closer,’ but I also don’t really see them winning a World Series,” @GamehendgeRNGR wrote. “They definitely have more question marks moving forward. The Sox should only improve for a few years.”