A White Sox-Cubs ‘fraternity’? That’s no way to stoke the flames of rivalry
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
You can throw out the records when these bitter rivals face each other. Well, tell you what, go ahead and throw out the White Sox’ record. The Cubs might end up needing theirs this season.
Indeed, there is no love lost when the South Side and North Side nines clash. The history runs too deep. The animosity runs like blood in the streets.
‘‘Actually, we’re all kind of in this together,’’ Cubs star Kris Bryant countered. ‘‘We’re all, like, one fraternity.’’
Can we just pretend he didn’t say that? It’s more fun to think of Cubs vs. Sox as a cauldron of bile and fury — or at least as something less pleasant than a Boy Scouts jamboree.
A ‘‘One Through Nine’’ setting the table for the annual Crosstown Showdown, which resumes Friday with a three-game series at Wrigley Field:
1. Trade war: Can’t we just declare a winner already in the trade last July that sent starting pitcher Jose Quintana to the Cubs for Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and a couple of less notable prospects? To let this thing play out, as Cubs manager Joe Maddon insists we must, seems so antithetical in the what-have-you-done-for-me-this-very-second world.
‘‘You want to evaluate things quickly,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘You can do that, but the game really needs time to really indicate exactly what did go on.’’
But Jimenez — the No. 4-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline — entered Thursday on a 13-game hitting streak at Class AA Birmingham, with five home runs, eight doubles and 18 RBI in that span. Cease is 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA and 42 strikeouts at Class A Winston-Salem. The rebuilding Sox appear to have crushed it on this deal.
Then again, Quintana leads the Cubs with four victories and is 11-5 since arriving on the North Side. If the lefty plays a key role in a return to the World Series — this season, next, whenever — won’t that pretty much speak for itself?
Fine, then, we’ll wait. But we don’t have to like it.
2. Something’s got to give: The Cubs and Sox are 28-28 head-to-head at Wrigley, so somebody’s going to have an edge by the end of the weekend. The Sox — 58-54 overall against the Cubs since interleague play began in 1997 — will maintain bragging rights no matter how the series shakes out. (Look, we saw a rare chance to put ‘‘Sox’’ and ‘‘bragging’’ in the same sentence and took it.)
3. Streaking: The rivalry was more one-sided than ever during a stretch from 2008 to 2012, when the Sox won 18 of 24 games. Five of the last six games have gone the Cubs’ way, though.
Can the reeling Sox, who were 6-18 in April and are 1-7 in May, scratch out a victory or two in the series this season? The teams play three more times at Guaranteed Rate Field in September.
4. Cubs meltdowns: The worst of them happened at the park then known as the Cell. During a 2010 loss to the Sox, pitcher Carlos Zambrano pulled a Carlos Zambrano in the dugout, losing his mind on teammate Derrek Lee and getting sent home early by manager Lou Piniella. This was one year after Piniella gave Milton Bradley the boot in similar fashion for pulling a Milton Bradley.
5. Speaking of Cubs meltdowns: Before all that was, of course, the time in 2006 at the Cell when Cubs catcher Michael Barrett punched Sox instigator A.J. Pierzynski. If there was a ‘‘high’’ point in the rivalry, this was it.
‘‘I saw that,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘I don’t feel like there’s any of that toward one another [anymore].’’
One can always hope.
6. Great Orators, Part I: Piniella didn’t take kindly to criticism from Sox broadcaster Steve Stone in 2010.
‘‘I’m not a dummy, that I can tell you,’’ he said. ‘‘I guess I think I know what the hell I’m doing.’’
Two months later, he resigned.
7. Great Orators, Part II: What did then-Sox manager Ozzie Guillen have to say in 2009 about Wrigley Field?
‘‘I puke every time I go there.’’
Two months later, he was still Ozzie Guillen.
8. Interleague players: The Sox are 0-4 in interleague play this season. They were 6-14 a year ago and haven’t had a winning interleague record since 2014. Yet while the Cubs are a handful of games under .500 against American League opponents since it all started in 1997, the Sox are a relatively robust 206-181 (.532) against the National League That’s the fifth-best interleague mark in baseball — nothing to sneeze at.
9. Who’s right? ‘‘We shouldn’t be taking any of it that seriously,’’ Bryant said of all this Cubs-Sox business.
Then again, would it be the worst thing in the world if someone grabbed the bad-blood flag from longtime Sox broadcaster Ken ‘‘Hawk’’ Harrelson and carried it up the next hill? It was Harrelson who, just last summer, called then-Cubs pitcher John Lackey ““full of [expletive]’’ and vowed never to set foot in Wrigley Field again.
Some would say good, clean disdain is what makes a true rivalry go ’round.