>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
October 9, 2005

As you know, I’m from Chicago. I’m a Northsider raised by a bunch of Northsider Cubs fans, just as the generation before them was—except my dad, he’s still Canadian and the Montreal Expos don’t pose that much of a threat seeing as all their players are standby hockey players. But Chicago, very much like New York, is divided by its baseball teams. On the Northside you have the Cubs and Wrigley Field. On the Southside you have the White Sox and U.S. Cellular Field, formerly known as Comisky Park. And because yesterday’s game was at 2 in the afternoon, the Chicago Stock Market Exchange was at a standstill since the entire city called in sick to watch the game. Employers haven’t been this aggravated since last Wednesday afternoon’s Cubs game, when surrounding bars were understaffed and Cubs fans were forced to serve themselves.

Now when I say the entire city has erupted into a playoff frenzy, I mean the entire city. Even though the Northside and Southside have their friendly rivalry during the summer, Cubs fans, more respectable and classy, can good-naturedly cheer on the White Sox without feeling like they’re betraying the Cubs. Most White Sox fans are just brutally cruel to Cubs fans. “You guys haven’t won the World Series since 1908!” “Minus the 2003 Miracle Season you guys haven’t made it to the playoffs since the late eighties.” “You’re a Cubs Fan? EWW, WHY?” And Cubs fans, we know we’re rooting for a losing team. We know at the beginning of the season that they’re probably not going to make it to the World Series, and that’s fine with us, because as long as we can sit in the bleacher seats with our three dollar Old Styles, sing the during the seventh inning stretch, and head over to Sluggers and Barleycorn after the game, we’re satisfied. We’re disappointed when the Cubs don’t win, but we’re not going to sit around pissing and moaning about it because we’re too liquored up from the self-serve bars to care.

“Although it is a common fear that one red sock will turn the white clothes pink in the washing machine, on the field neither team seems very threatening to me.”

With the recent playoff frenzy sweeping the city, more noticeably than the public transportation operators showing their more friendly side by breaking gently, local news anchors have been overly excited. Sports used to be a five minute segment that reviewed the days events: “Blackhawks lose, Cubs lose, Bulls lose, Wolves lose, Fire lose (soccer), Bears lose, and White Sox lose, back to you Bob.” But now the half hour evening news is fifteen minutes of news and fifteen minutes of White Sox related reports. Journalists have even found a way to incorporate real news into the White Sox game. “A Metra train derailed early this morning in one of Chicago’s neighboring suburbs. Several people were critically injured, but the collision seemed to have no impact upon the White Sox players who may or may not have even heard about the derailment. Also, none of the passengers were reported to have tickets to today’s game, but just as a precaution, the city had helicopters standing by to transfer any ticket holders to U.S. Cellular field.”

Granted Chicago hasn’t won anything since the Bulls basketball championship in 1997. The 90’s were the glory years for Chicago as far as sports were concerned. We had all-stars, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, coach Phil Jackson, and even female Dennis Rodman kicking ass all over the court. And though occasionally divided, this city is very forgiving. Remember when Jordan attempted to play major league baseball? Probably not, because Chicago protects its own from humiliation; any other eight-foot man striking out and unable to catch would land on American’s funniest home videos. But in this city we forgive his insanity by making a comeback. Several in this case.

The people Chicago won’t forgive are the fans who listen to their headphones and reach for fly balls during a Cubs playoff game. Maybe it wasn’t his fault. Maybe it really was the shortstop’s fault in another serious error that made that tragic game.

If the Cubs did play the Red Sox in the World Series back in 2003, I wonder who really would have won. Both underdogs, both loveable losers, both with non-threatening mascots…a baby bear and a pair of red socks…. I mean seriously, why are a pair of socks the mascot? Did the league run out of threatening animals? Or did they have to make a decision between what sounded better, the “Boston Legal Eagles” or the the “Boston Red Sox”? You know, which would strike more fear into the heart of the competitors. Yeah…better go with a pair of turbo cotton sox. And while you’re making up a new logo, call Chicago and let them know whether or not they want in, the best printing colors are white or blue.

But this isn’t about the Cubs vs. Sox, this is about the Sox vs. Sox. Red vs. White. Both mascots are equally unferocious in character. Although it is a common fear that one red sock will turn the white clothes pink in the washing machine, on the field neither team seems very threatening to me. White Sox are still pumped up full of adrenaline by the fact that we actually made it to the playoffs, and the Red Sox are so used to coming up from behind that they’re all probably sitting in the dugout spitting tobacco and deciding how many games they’ll want to come back from this time to make themselves look like the heroes yet again. I may not know a single player’s name on either team, but there’s a definite trend in baseball besides the use of steroids…and that’s the Red Sox loving to come from behind. I know a couple of girls that like it that way too.

At least that’s what I thought until I saw the highlights from Wednesday’s game. I realize that everybody makes mistakes, but even I’m confident enough to say that the Red Sox’s second baseman skills are the equivalent of a 10-year-old girl with one leg and an eye tumor. Do baseball players get docked a grand or two on their paycheck when they make a mistake? I think they should. Missing a flyball: $2,000. Missing a grounder: $3,000. Hitting a Yankee player with a wild pitch: hmmm….priceless.