Dare I say it? The White Sox get more media attention in town than the Cubs do.

The Sox have been much more interesting and controversial of late than their cousins to the north.

SHARE Dare I say it? The White Sox get more media attention in town than the Cubs do.
Pedro Grifol (left) and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn holding up a jersey during a Nov. 3 press conference announcing Grifol’s hiring as the team’s new manager.

Pedro Grifol (left) and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn hold up a jersey during a Nov. 3 press conference announcing Grifol’s hiring as the team’s new manager.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Like clockwork, the voice message would be waiting for me whenever I wrote a column about the Cubs. Same guy, same beef. Varying blends of words but the same mad tidings. And I’m talking years of this.

‘‘Mr. Morrissey, you must think White Sox fans are stupid.’’


‘‘You know, Morrissey, you people and the Cubs . . . ’’

And he would be off to the races, ranting about what he saw as baseball favoritism in town and his team getting shortchanged in the love department.

I could write an appreciation for all things Sox, could express admiration for something the organization was doing, could recommend chairman Jerry Reinsdorf for a MacArthur Genius Grant, and I would hear nothing from my friend the caller.

But if I wrote about the Cubs, I could count on a voicemail letting me know that I and every other media member in Chicago lived in ignorance of the presence of a second Major League Baseball franchise in town.

I haven’t heard from the man in years, and my concern is that the Cubs’ 2016 World Series title caused his eyeballs to explode, rendering him unable to see the numbers on his phone to call me.

I’ve been thinking about him lately.

The Sox have been much more interesting than the Cubs for several years. Now, my definition of ‘‘interesting’’ and your definition of it might be completely different, especially if you fall heavily on the Cubs side of the Cubs-Sox demarcation in Chicago. Many Chicagoans do. But from a newspaper writer’s perspective, it’s not even close. The Sox are compelling; the Cubs aren’t.

And it has shown in the coverage around town. The Sox get more attention.

Who would’ve thunk it?

While the Cubs have been putting people to sleep with their second rebuild in a decade, the Sox have put together a talented group of players that has underachieved on the field, which, as anyone who listens to sports radio knows, is a five-alarm fire. So that tilts the needle in their direction in terms of media coverage.

But they’ve had controversy, too, whether it has been Reinsdorf’s decision to hire old buddy Tony La Russa as manager, La Russa’s DUI, La Russa’s head-scratching in-game decisions, La Russa’s departure, the franchise’s failure to land big-name free agents or MLB’s investigation of domestic-abuse allegations against newly signed pitcher Mike Clevinger. (MLB eventually announced Clevinger would face no discipline.)

The squeaky wheel and all that.

I’m not saying that coverage of the Cubs has been moved to the obituary pages or that the number of words devoted to the Sox would tip over a cruise ship, but there certainly has been a shift. Whatever the reason, the Sox have gotten more of the spotlight lately, which must be very strange for their fans, who traditionally have embraced life in the shadows of the more popular team in town. There was a time (oh, yesterday) when I thought Sox fans enjoyed their preoccupation with the Cubs more than they enjoyed their own team. You wouldn’t think resentment could be a way of life, but it has been.

The Sox have a new manager, Pedro Grifol. He’s another reason they’ve gotten more attention. Maybe the guy will end up being as boring as rice cakes, but he’s fresh and recent, and Cubs manager David Ross isn’t. Advantage, White Sox.

There was another Sox-fan reader. Whenever I wrote a column about his team, he’d pore over it, looking (hoping?) for any mention of the Cubs. If there were one, he would email to tell me that I clearly couldn’t write about the South Siders without letting my ‘‘love’’ for the Cubs seep in. Can you see my eyes rolling in print? If you asked Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts about my love for him and his team, he would say he wouldn’t want to see what my hate looked like.

Through the decades, both newspapers in town have been targets of Sox fans’ ire about what they perceived as a preference for the Cubs, but especially the Tribune when it owned the team from 1981 to 2009. I was there during part of it, and I can tell you editors went out of their way not to give even the appearance of favoritism. One editor, so frustrated by the constant carping of Sox fans, went over the paper’s coverage of both teams with a ruler to measure inches of newspaper copy devoted to the Cubs and Sox. After a season’s worth of calculations, it ended in a tie. The editor had ammunition to return fire. He also had eyestrain.

Sox fans didn’t want to hear it then, and I wonder whether they want to hear that their team has been getting the lion’s share of the attention in town the last few seasons. Sigh. No, I didn’t mean ‘‘the Cubs’ share of the attention.’’

I’ve got to go. I think my phone is ringing.

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