After the first two games of the Crosstown Series or Cup or whatever it’s called these days, the results could not have been more one sided. Two games at Wrigley Field, two offensive explosions by the White Sox to the tune of 17 runs, 26 hits, 11 home runs, and two White Sox wins. If you go back through the following week, the White Sox have won 7 straight, knocking 27 balls out of the park, an MLB record for a 7 game stretch.
The line for the Cubs in the same span? 5 runs, 13 hits, 0 home runs. It was a tale of two cities, indeed.
Now, before I get into the meat and potatoes of this post, let’s relive some of those White Sox dingers to get the engines revved and ready to go. Luckily, to not take up too much real estate, our good friends at White Sox Twitter compiled the most crucial dingers into two videos. First, for the 6 homer barrage on Friday:
This place sure is friendly! pic.twitter.com/FKdNgvkh93
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 22, 2020
And the Jose Abreu’s three homers from Saturday, giving him an absolutely unconscious stat line of 6 hits, 5 homers, 8 RBI, and 5 runs scored in the first two games at Wrigley.
Just try and stop him. See what happens. pic.twitter.com/uyv5cng6WZ
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 23, 2020
When the offense is steamrolling teams like this, you’re not going to lose many games. That being said, it’s certainly helped that Dallas Keuchel went 8 innings of one run ball on Friday and ReyLo and Gio Gonzalez combined to throw 7 innings of 2 hit, 2 run ball on Saturday. That, my friends, is a team firing on all cylinders.
Dallas Keuchel is a bad, bad man. pic.twitter.com/Wao9CelTsB
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 22, 2020
This post isn’t just meant to be a recap of the two drubbings of the Cubs, though. Literally watching either game will tell you the story just fine, with the sound of ball after ball landing in the empty Wrigley Bleachers providing the soundtrack. The question is, why were these two wins so awesome to experience as a White Sox fan?
Obviously, the recent history plays a big factor into that. While the White Sox have been caught in one of two rebuilds for most of the last decade, the most recent finally starting to pay off, the Cubs have been in their golden age since 2015. The Cubs’ four playoff appearances, three NLCS appearances, and of course the 2016 World Series have been the story of Chicago baseball since 2015. While the White Sox have been stuck in arguably the worst stretch in their history, the city and suburbs have become a sea of Cubs blue and red.
The question of “Why are you a White Sox fan?” has never seemed more common. The attendance jokes and the digs about the White Sox stadium from Cubs fans have been off the rails. Go to most stores that sell team apparel in Chicago and your way more likely than not to only see Cubs gear on the shelves. Bandwagon or not, Chicago has been a Cubs town for the last five years.
While they were on their way to winning a ring, the White Sox had their star pitcher slicing up jerseys, their DH retiring because the EVP told him maybe his kid shouldn’t be on the field every day, and our star centerfielder calling said child a leader of the team. The gap was never so wide.
Even on the field, all the majority of the White Sox young roster has known for their careers is that the Cubs run Chicago. From 2016 to now, they’ve had to be David fighting Goliath. It may not be a divisional rivalry, but you better believe after all those years they are raring to take it to their neighbors to the North.
I’m not singing the Cubs’ praises here – this is just to paint the backdrop. While all that has been going on, us White Sox fans have been patiently waiting our turn. When, if ever, would the rebuild pan out? Yes, we had hope in this young core, but when you support a team that’s made the playoffs 9 times in 120 seasons of baseball that shadow of a doubt never leaves your mind. It’s not that you want them to lose, it’s just that it’s built in skepticism to protect yourself from being let down.
While 2020 was always the season, it was circled in pencil, especially with the Opening Series making it look like the Sox were still just too far away. After last season’s free agency failures surrounding the pursuit of Manny Machado, it seemed maybe the Sox were destined to just fall short of the goal, before looking to tear it down again. An overreaction yes, but again, it’s hard to help it.
Well, after the first two games of this weekend’s series, all those fears seem to be erased. The White Sox offense is teeing off against the Cubs, the bullpen is looking dominant, our top of the rotation is dealing, and the bottom end is holding up their end of the bargain. And this is without much production from Edwin Encarnacion and Nomar Mazara doing much of anything.
It hasn’t been this fun to be a White Sox fan since 2008, with the possible exceptions of 2010 and 2012. Having a team that can go out there and have a chance to beat any team on any day is a feeling we haven’t had too often. They aren’t going to mash everyone all season long, but the potential is always there. Instead of thinking “how are the Sox going to lose this one”, there’s confidence the game is in hand.
For once, it’s not a roller coaster ride to watch the White Sox play. It’s simply fun, and after mediocre to bad baseball for so long, that is exhilarating.
So, for the Cubs fans dropping the “this series doesn’t even matter” or the classic “White Sox little brother complex” lines, my response is simple: get the hell out of here with that. No Cubs fan in Chicago has ever had to answer the “Why are you a Cubs fan” question, and for the last five years it’s been all about your team. ESPN has never, and will never, forget you won in 2016.
Sorry White Sox, ESPN says that 2005 title you had never happened
— Someone's An Idiot (@SomeonesAnIdiot) October 25, 2016
It may not mean the same to you, but your team isn’t coming from the same place.
Chalk it up to whatever you want, but the energy from the White Sox fanbase is coming from years of being in second place in this city, by way of the media, the on field product, hell even in the merchandise stock at Kohl’s. Finally, it seems like the torch is passing, and the fanbase is reacting accordingly. Call it an overreaction, fine, but this is what years of frustration turning into the realization that we have a good team looks like.
If you don’t understand it, that’s fine. If you’re going to criticize White Sox fans for celebrating winning two games against the Cubs like it’s the World Series, go right ahead. It’s not going to stop me, or any other White Sox fans, from enjoying our moment in the sun. We’ve waited too damn long for this, and man it feels good.
Welcome to the new era of White Sox baseball.
Do us a favor and @ every @Cubs fan who disrespected Abreu this week.
— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) August 23, 2020