Monday, May 2, 2011

The Ultimate Decision: Sox Or Cubs

Greetings, Cubs Stats readers! Today, we're excited to announced the addition of our newest writer, Alishia. She is a Chicago southside native and — regrettably — a White Sox fan.

In our ever growing effort to expand our commentary on all Chicago sports matters, Alishia fits the bill. She's a talented writer and genuine person; we think you'll like her. :)

-Bradley Woodrum


When living in Chicago, there’s one question we’re all faced with at some point: Sox or Cubs. We’re all very familiar with this question and regardless of whether or not you’re a true die hard or merely a casual fan, the answer leaps instinctively off of your tongue as if you’d been asked your name.
For me, the answer is simple: White Sox. There’s no question, no doubt, and not a chance of indecisiveness. I’ve been a Sox fan for as long as I can remember, and while some Cub fans in recent years have started to jump from the mother ship of all happy hours that is Wrigley Field, for the most part, fans don’t stray once a side has been designated.

So why are we so loyal to whichever side of town we claim holds our hearts? Why am I a Sox fan and not a blind follower of Chicago and baseball’s once lovable losers? At first, I thought this question was much deeper and needed extensive thought and research to figure out.

In the Chicagoland area, there are roughly 10 million people, and while not everyone is a life-long, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation Chicagoan, most of these people will pick a side upon inquiry. I wanted to break everything down, and assumed my findings would naturally back my assumptions.

Clearly, the white-collar, upper-class, frat boys and stay-at-home soccer moms in the Northern and Northwest suburbs, along with the yuppie finance guys and computer geeks with their materialistic, socialite wanna-be wives, girlfriends, and partners of the Northern and West Loop areas of the city are all worshipers at the house Santo built. Meanwhile, the normal, blue collar families and hardworking, paycheck-to-paycheck living people in the South and Southwest suburbs and areas of the city would make up the brutally honest, tough-love-giving Sox fans.

I didn’t have to do too much, if any, digging to see how truly wrong my assumptions were. Sure, I’m from the Southwest suburbs and my degree isn’t in finance, economics, or computer anything. I work very hard for what I have and am grateful for every chance I get to cheer/boo at The Cell (and still Comiskey to many of us). My Polish background has nothing to do with my love for A.J. Pierzynski, and I didn’t just jump on the bandwagon over the summer of 2005.

I hadn’t noticed, until trying to answer this question for myself, that my assumptions didn’t even extend down the hallway of my family home. My younger brother (while he is a white-collar computer geek, living in the West Loop) is a Cubs fan. Not an “I bleed Cubbie blue” type Cub fan, but a Cub fan none-the-less. My father shares my heart as a Sox fan, but my blue-collar background mother is also a Cubs fan. My brother and I grew up in the same home with the same parents until we left for college and yet when it comes to baseball, we didn’t follow the formula. We weren’t rich or even well off and, truth-be-told, our parents were never that into baseball.

That, however, is when it hit me. The true reason for why we cover ourselves in black, white, and grey or blue and red those two exciting series during the summer more-so than at any other time throughout the year. It isn’t about money, jobs, status, or geography. My mother herself was raised on the South Side. It has nothing to do with the shiny newer stadium out south or the crumbling death trap covered in weeds and urine up north.

The real reason we stay loyal to our favorite boys of summer in Chicago is based on our foundation and the environment we had around us when first introduced to this wonderful game. Whether it was sitting on the porch with your grandfather as a toddler, on that first date at your first game in the bleachers with the man of your dreams, or on a field trip with all of your classmates, begging for a foul ball or a wave from one of the players, that amazing memory of warmth and comfort conceived in us at that very moment solidified who we are and will be (no matter how many times Cub fans say they’re done).

While I was raised in a home by both of my parents, I grew up with my best friends in a house that was, and is, a Sox shrine. My brother, also raised at home with me, grew up with his best friend’s family who was afraid of a curse, and missed many of their team’s games due to work and school. (Great scheduling, by the way, Northsiders.) My mother remembers watching games with her father as a young child and being told, “That’s our team. Those are the Cubs.” That was it. Her father said it, and so it was decided.

Some of my favorite early memories are with my friend’s family, going to Comiskey and eating hot dogs, screaming with happy, outside voices and being responded to with big hits and great plays. It’s all I know; it’s how I was raised and it’s who I am: A Sox Fan!

17 comments:

  1. GREAT article regarding Chicago's great cross-town rivals :o)

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  2. Y'know what Sara? I agree. Despite the author's south side persuasions.

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  3. I think she's pretty reasonable about choosing her allegiances. Personally I don't care about the White Sox until the interleague series (or if the Sox and Cubs ever meet in the World Series, guffaw) but that doesn't mean I hate them or won't root for them to succeed...I'm pretty ambivalent about non-Cubs teams, but I am a fan of baseball overall, so if that's the only thing on to watch, then I'm game.

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  4. @Kin: I would say I typically fall in line with that thinking -- the only caveat being that (as a Chinatown resident) most of my friends are Soxward.

    However, I recently attended a Rays game there and the Sox fans left a rather foul taste in my mouth. The team thereby on a probationary period of at least 1 month.

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  5. A point well-taken that most peoples' allegiance is determined well before their career choice or sexual orientation; and for the older of us who remember such things, the choice *might* just be that in the early 1970s the White Sox were exiled to that desert known as UHF, with its consequent miserable television reception at any appreciable distance from the city, and the Cubs were much easier to see clearly on WGN.

    You may just have to trust me on this one, but I can tell you Alishia does rather give White Sox fans something to brag about.

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  6. The cubs are far more popular as far as the franchises go outside of Illinois, consider the fact that they are consistently ranked within the top 5 most popular franchises while the Sox are only within the top 15.
    With that said I am a Sox fan based on 1) my proximity to the cell; I can hear the fireworks every time somebody hits a dinger. 2)On the issue of the Cubs, I find that I have nothing wrong with the franchise or the team, my problem is with Wrigleyville, a bar town that sucks the life out of organized baseball and leeches onto sports to justify selling beer at $7 a bottle. Wrigleyville causes most people to be cubs fans based primarly out of convenience for the 100 bars located in a 1/2 mile radius around Wrigley. This causes most cubs fans to love the cubs for all the wrong reasons in my opinion. Most Cubs fans can seldom name 5 current players, while the majority of Sox fans can at least name a good amount of the starting lineup.

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  7. I'd be interested to know what the previous poster sites as his source for the abysmal statement "Most Cubs fans can seldom name 5 current players."

    I'd sign something like that "Anonymous" too.

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  8. @sRw: The prevalence of WGN really has affected Cubs fandom. A quick gander over to the "About Us" page reveals how I -- a Florida-raised boy -- came to love the Cubs through its national broadcasts. In recent years, the Ricketts family has reduced the contract with WGN -- a major mistake in my mind.

    @Anon: I actually agree on many of those points -- even though I'm a Cubs fan. I really dislike Wrigleyville, though that may be a function of my distaste for alcohol, and I feel Cubs fans (well, maybe fans in general) are woefully under-informed.

    I went to a Cubs game late in 2009 and overheard a Cubs fan loudly and repeatedly ask, "Who the hell is... Tyler Colvin?" His friends, of course, had no means of helping him. My wife, on the other hand, had to restrain me.

    That being said: I write about the Cubs and the MLB every day. Maybe I think fans are ignorant because I devote 75% of my time to the sport?

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  9. Be careful about your definiton of "fan" here...in 2009 Tyler Colvin was up for 6 games and only hit .176. A casual fan could be excused for not knowing who he is. That said, how could one define someone who cannot name 5 current players on a given team a "fan"? Anon made an invalid (not to mention sh*t-headed) generalisation
    somewhat in line with saying all White Sox fans are thugs because Steven Hawking and his son Skippy attacked Tom Gamboa back in '02.

    In fact, I don't write about the Cubs everday, tho' I can name the entire 25-man roster and still remember the day in '72 when Alan Montreuil got the only hit he'd get that year (hitting a staunch .091), but I don't go as far as to assume fans who don't know such facts are "ignorant." That'd be just plain arrogant.

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  10. I left a comment Lish but my stupid phone redirected me and none of it saved lol great. Well written piece just wanted to come by and show my support - shard.

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  11. @sRw: To me -- at least, I felt this way at the time -- a Cubs fan should know, if nothing else, the names of very recent first-round draft picks. Tyler Colvin was still getting featured on Cubs.com articles, so even people checking schedules or probable pitchers aught to recognize his name, if not know his position and some of recent performances.

    It may be an overzealous generalization to say Cubs fans don't know their own roster. From my own experiences, I think you could easily say 60% of the bleacher crowds can't name the whole 25-man roster. The last time I sat in the bleachers, I could swear I was the only one watching the game.

    But, in truth, a large swath of Cubs fans don't live in Chicago -- they live vicariously through MLB.tv, WGN, and Cubs.com. Those fans, I imagine, are much more in tune with the roster and the club's performance.

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  12. Yeah, I keep up with the game using Gameday while listening/watching and I also pay more attention to the team than most fans, but I won't begrudge those who don't. They either don't have time, aren't as big of baseball fans (what with the Bulls and Blackhawks doing well and the Bears being popular), or simply don't care other than that the Cubs jersey is pretty.

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  13. @Kin: If someone's reason for being a fan of a team is because the jersey is pretty...they aren't fans. Maybe fans of the company who designed and made the jersey, but not of the team who's logo just happens to be on it.

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  14. I think they're just a different kind of fan. They're probably still enjoying their time at the ballpark, they just don't live and die by the team like some of us do. And that's okay with me. However, when they spout opinions like "Player X is a god" when Player X is simply scrappy and doesn't actually play all that well, then we have a problem hehehe.

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  15. However, when they spout opinions like "Player X is a god" when Player X is simply scrappy and doesn't actually play all that well, then we have a problem hehehe.

    That's my problem. I always sit right in front of that guy and his buds.

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  16. Sorry Brad. I have a different problem...I have to explain to my son why those guys and his buddies are idiots.

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  17. I think the Cubs have the same amount of die hard knowledgeable fans as the White Sox. In addition the Cubs also have a giant casual fan base that the White Sox do not have.

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