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Cubs or Sox? How about both ...

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Earlier this week, Sun-Times sports columnist Chris DeLuca reported that Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano enjoys playing for the Cubs, but really wouldn't mind some day playing for the White Sox. Blasphemy, right?

I have to say that as a Cubs fan, I would hate to see this happen.

But as a White Sox fan, I would happily welcome him to the South Side.

Many "true" Chicago sports fans have stopped reading at this point.

That's because in order to be a true Chicago sports fan, you must at some point make the Sophie's choice of this city's sports world; the question that almost always comes up when you're out of town and someone finds out you're from here -- Cubs or Sox?

To many, my answer -- "both" -- is utterly unacceptable.
Being a fan of one means that you're automatically a detractor of the other. If you call 35th & Shields your baseball home, you despise the drunkfest of Wrigleyville on game days. And if you've considered naming your child Clark Addison, chances are you see U.S. Cellular Field as everything that is wrong with the contemporary corporate baseball experience.

I, on the other hand, celebrate the virtue of both venues -- and both franchises, for that matter -- while at the same time recognizing that each has its monumental foibles.
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Admittedly, we fans of both teams are a silent minority, but I'm here to tell you that more of us exist than you would think. We would just as happily spend a beer-soaked afternoon in Wrigley's bleachers blissfully unaware of the score, the inning or the pitch count as we would hanging on every pitch in the South Side's comfy confines.

I sing the praises of both. I cheer the wins of both. And when they play each other, I hope only that games are as free of injury as they are full of on-field drama. I love a good show, and I'll always tune in to a good story line. And there are fewer story lines in sports that tend to garner as much intrigue as that of rivalries.

So, how can I justify my insolence? How does one explain away his perceived infidelity?

You see, the Cubs/Sox choice is often made early on in one's life. And it usually, but certainly not always, has something to do with geography. It can also be genetic -- the way some people are democrats because they come from a family of democrats, so are many people Cubs or Sox fans because it's in their DNA.

I grew up in the west suburb of Batavia. We felt about as connected to the city of Chicago as we did to the Iowa/Illinois border (and we were almost as close). The connection I had to this city was through the newspapers I read and what I saw on TV. I read about both teams, so I was able to closely follow both teams. I watched both teams play on TV, so names like Kittle, Cangelosi and Baines meant as much to me as names like Cey, Sandberg and Dawson. (For those who may be wondering, I threw Cangelosi's in there because, at 5'7" he gave guys like me hope ... and I'm a huge fan of alliteration). This was prior to interleague play, so it was entirely possible that I was blissfully unaware of the very existence of any rivalry.

So, geographical fidelity was out of the question.

As to genetics, I was taken by various family members to Old Comiskey and Wrigley with equal frequency. My parents always taught me that before I judge, I should learn as much as I could about a particular subject and form my opinion based on what I had surmised. This was their approach to religion, politics and, yes, baseball.

So I made my choice at an early age. I would love the Cubs. I would love the Sox. And I will be in attendance for both of their home openers this season wearing the appropriate team's gear, talking shop with my fellow fans.

When I explain this to people, the question usually comes up, "What if the two teams met in the World Series? Who would you cheer for?"

I can only say that even the most ardent fan of either team would agree that it'd be rude to cheer the apocalypse.

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42 Comments

I've been a Cubs/Sox fan forever. Think Minnie Minoso, Nellie Fox, Hank Sauer, Ernie Banks and the list goes on. Put simply, I'm a Chicago fan and any team that plays well and wins please all of us.

U can't be both. PERIOD! You're either Sox or Cubs. No more than u could wear two pair of shoes at the same time. You're either a die-hard southsider(like I am) or a true northsider. No jumping on the band wagon(ex: Cubbies of 2005). U can't even own both team caps.

Well technically you're not from CHICAGO so people don't really expect you to choose one over the other.

I have to say that I am a complete and true cubs fan. I grew up a cubs fan, and now root for the cubs no matter what. I grew in Danville, IL, and I didn't even know the White Sox were a team. This is how I view the White Sox.

I like the players. They have some great talent in Quentin, wonderful pitching in Buehrle, and rude obnoxiousness in A.J. I think they do wonders for the community and for their fans. But, I can never be a White Sox fan because of how the other fans act. I have never once gone up to a white sox without being called a loser or have the saying "You'll Learn." Most White Sox fans are obnoxious and rude. I am not saying that cubs fans are not the same way, but most of the Cubs fans I know are nice to other teams fans.

As far as interleague play. The whole Sox vs Cubs thing is completely gone overboard. Yeah it is nice to have the bragging rights, but I have never really looked forward to the game, because in the end it is either a win or a loss. If you want to see a true rivalry, one of the biggest and oldest in history is the Cubs vs the Cardinals. There are so many more fans of both of these two teams than there are of the sox. This rivalry spreads across several states. I also find it more enjoyable to watch, and always look forward to it. There is an actual point to these game. You lose, the other team gets ahead by one game. The 12 or 16 games they play a year are truly meaningful and can make or break a season come september.

I just want to end by saying that I do not despise the White Sox. I will watch them if they are on TV or if I am with some other Sox fans, but in my heart, the cubs come first. So please pay attention to the games that matter rather pay attention to six pointless interleague games and point your hatred to Minnesota or to St. Louise and not at your fellow Chicagoan.

Saying that you support both the Cubs and the Sox because you are a "Chicago Fan" would be like saying you would have supported both the North and the South in the Civil War because you are an "America Fan."

You make me sick.

@Michael J. Gunderson:

It's nothing like that.

I go back to Luke Appling and Andy Pafko as my boyhood heroes. My mom took me to Cubs games on ladies day, and my dad took me to Sox games when he returned from WW2. I have followed both teams ever since; when they play interleague games I root for a split. My sons however are 2 Sox and 1 Cubs. But they do not root against the other team. I always root against the New York teams, as real Chicagoans should.

Kevin Replies: "I always root against the New York teams, as real Chicagoans should." -- Great call!

As a Cub fan, I think it stinks that I have to share my favorite football team with the Southsiders.

The White Stocking are cheap and their fans are trashy. There's a reason you live on the Northside of town, K. Allen - because you know the southside is littered with trash.

Even after winning a World Series, the White Stocking are still (and will always remain) second fiddle to the Cub.

Linda S.

Editor's note: That's not why Kevin lives on the North side. Could not disagree with this comment more.

Michael Gunderson: Your civil war analogy fundamentally doesn't hold up to Kevin's article.

If the Civil War paralleled two baseball franchises in two different leagues then 1861 would have had the south fighting the south and the north fighting the north until the victor of each respected party would earn the right to face off at the battle of Gettysburg. If this absurd scenario was the case then Kevin would have the patriotic right to cheer simultaneously for the Union and the Confederates preceding Gettysburg. This, in fact, is what he is saying.

The Civil War was a harrowing chapter in our nation's history; this is something I think EVERYONE can agree on.

Saying you like both the Cubs and the Sox is like saying I like Boys and I like girls.............PICK A SIDE for Cry EYE! Gheez people like you need to make a choice, if you had to make a major decision in your life I don't think you'd be able to do it! Stay on the Northside cuz we really don't want or need you with Chicago's REAL baseball team

I'm a Cubs fan. I always have been. I grew up on the North Side, and my cousins and I attended opening day for years. One summer when we were kids, we would go nearly every day to the games. At the time, Wrigley had a program in place where if you folded up a row of seats after the game, you were given a free pass to attend the next day's game.

If you had told me fifteen years ago that I could have possibly, ever, have even remotely supported that South Side team, I would have told you your were insane.

But then I moved to Los Angeles. And Chicago, as a city, became more important to me.

I'm not necessarily a Sox fan now, but I do support their success. When the Sox won the World Series a few years back, I stood shoulder to shoulder with a South Sider out here in L.A. and cheered them on.

Sometimes you need to leave the city that you call home to really appreciate everything that comes from there, from both sides of the city.

John Cusack, a native North Sider, has supported the White Sox (even wearing their cap in movies), and on a recent episode of The Bonnie Hunt Show, Bonnie, a North Sider, and her guest, Michael Clark Duncan, a South Sider, agreed that it is possible to support both teams. And I agree.

Kevin Replies: Well put, Sean.

I was forced to go to Sox games when I was a kid. When I grew up I started going to Cubs games and enjoyed it. Trouble is that I still went to a few Sox games and enjoyed those also. When it comes right down to it, I am a Cubs fan, but now I live in Florida and follow the Marlins. It's just a game kids.

When 2005 came and went with the White sox winning it all, I thought we Sox fans would at least hear some type of congratulations from Cub fans but what we got mostly was silence and ignorance. I might have had some compassion and been able to root for the Cubs somewhat after the 2005 championship but now I hope they never win. It's eating them alive that the Sox were the first in generations to bring a baseball title to Chitown and it continues to burn them with every passing season. By the way Cub fans....Happy 100th anniversary and here's wishing you many more years of futility.

GO SOX !!

I understand the feeling you have for love of both teams.I have a live or die attitude for the Cubs,unfortunaly in the past it has been more of a die than live,but a salways they have my heart.I live in SC but I can thank my late grandmother for the love I have for the old cubbies. She kept box scores of every Cincinnati Reds game for every year.When I was six years old,I was visiting her in Ohio,I tried to talk to her and she blew me off so she would not miss even one pitch of the game.The game that she was keeping score on that visit was the Reds vs. Cubs and that love that I have for my team in blue came even from that visit with my grandmother.As I said through thick and thin my love in baseball is only for the Cubs.

I don't necessarily think that the whole South Side is trashy debate works. I grew up in a very wealthy area of the NW suburbs. While this means that I am not technically a Chicago resident I still live close enough to the city to go to games in an under an hour. I grew up a Sox fan and remain one to this day. I was endlessly ridiculed when i was younger for not rooting Cubs. I have been to games at Wrigley, The Cell, and Old Comiskey. Going back to my earlier argument, I am offended that people call the South Side trash. There are some really bad areas on the the South Side, but last time I checked Cabrini Green (although mostly gone) is on the North Side. There are areas on the North side along Western that are every bit as dangerous and unappealing as the South Side. There are also very affluent areas on the South Side like Beverly. Besides the Cell is always cleaner than Wrigley. i don't care if you say Wrigley is nearly a century old. While I know my team will always come second in popularity to the Cubs, I could care less. I like that I root for the underdog as well as the fact that I feel Sox fans are more closely knit. Feel free to disagree with my opinions, but I'd rather be a Sox fan any day than be just another Cubs fan.

I love the city of Chicago, but I think everyone can agree that we are a severely segregated city, and I'm not just talking baseball. The fact that some north siders don't even know what exists on the south side and vice versa, is a little disheartening. I don't see a problem in supporting both teams and maybe bringing a little unity to the city. Besides, for the vast majority of the past 100 years, both teams have stunk. Maybe if we showed equal support we would have a few more winners around here.

I love the city of Chicago, but I think everyone can agree that we are a severely segregated city, and I'm not just talking baseball. The fact that some north siders don't even know what exists on the south side and vice versa, is a little disheartening. I don't see a problem in supporting both teams and maybe bringing a little unity to the city. Besides, for the vast majority of the past 100 years, both teams have stunk. Maybe if we showed equal support we would have a few more winners around here.

"We would just as happily spend a beer-soaked afternoon in Wrigley's bleachers blissfully unaware of the score, the inning or the pitch count as we would hanging on every pitch in the South Side's comfy confines."

See this quote is just really irritating. Of course Sox fans love to say that people at Wrigley don't pay attention and I'm sure some of them don't. But I'm also sure some people at Sox games don't pay attention. For starters you have way more distractions at The Cell than you do at Wrigley. To say that there are people at Cubs games who aren't hanging on every pitch is asinine and ridiculous. Then again it's also one of those unquantifiable things that make the Cubs/Sox debate so ridiculous in the first place. The whole rivalry is based almost entirely on things that you can't possibly prove

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this article!

Having been born and raised on Chicago's southside, I grew up a Sox fan, but didn't necessarily hate the Cubs. I just "preferred" the Sox when they played.

When I left Chicago for college in the 80's, I rooted for both. Except, of course, when they played each other. I was just as happy, and despondent when the Cubs lost the series to San Diego, as I was when the Sox lost theirs to Baltimore prior.

And I was in a bar in Aurora cheering just as loudly as anyone else there when the Cubs were 5 outs from making it to the World Series. And just as despondent when they eventually lost. It was NOT funny to me as it was for some of my fellow White Sox fans that I know.

I was on Cloud 9 when the Sox won the World Series! Heck - I still have the banner up on the wall in my basement! But never, ever, wished the Cubs ill will.

We are Chicagoans! I'm not sure how many people ever leave the city to live other places like I have, but when you're away, you miss ALL things Chicago. And that includes the team that, while not being your favorite - is still associated with the city that I love!

I never could quite understand the hatred from both sides. I think it has more to do with the perceptions of each others fans than it has to do with the actual teams/organizations.

I mean come on! Even Sox fans were cheering for Sammy Sosa during his homerun duel with Mark McGuire.

I love Chicago. I Love the White Sox. I like the Cubs.

It IS possible! :)


I"m s chi sox fan ! I hate the rainbow boy's ! Thank You grandma for the beating for cheering for the cubs when I was 12 yrs old ! Even if you did live two block from the rainbow field . You still cheer for the white Sox ! Hey Cubs fans it will never happen no world champ for the cubs never ! So stop crying right now because it will never happen ! You'll see a pink elephant and a green cow having a baby before those bum cubs player win a championship ! Let Go SOX!!!!

Pete C...that's a great attitude to have, I hope you enjoy your miserable, bitter existence. The only thing that eats Cubs fans up inside is that their team hasn't won a World Series in 101 years, that's it.

I"m s chi sox fan ! I hate the rainbow boy's ! Thank You grandma for the beating for cheering for the cubs when I was 12 yrs old ! Even if you did live two block from the rainbow field . You still cheer for the white Sox ! Hey Cubs fans it will never happen no world champ for the cubs never ! So start crying right now because it will never happen ! You'll see a pink elephant and a green cow having a baby before those bum cubs player win a championship ! Let Go SOX!!!!

I respect people who have one allegiance, but I, born bred chicagoan, am a fan of both teams, have been for a while. I will say that I am a bigger sox fan than cubs fan, but still, I like both teams...

Show some backbone, get off the fence, pick a side, take the lumps if you're wrong. No wimping out. Go Cubs!

Has anyone else noticed the stronger the argument for one team or the other, the more IDIOTIC the post?

...I'm just saying.

Great column, Kevin. Go Chicago.j3

Has anyone else noticed the stronger the argument for one team or the other, the more IDIOTIC the post?

....I'm just sayin.

Great job, Kevin. Go Chicago.

I hate the cubs! Go White Sox!

My sentiments exactly...

After decades of following both teams and enduring being called a traitor by one side or the other, I have come to the conclusion that these so-called purists are rather one-dimensional and indeed if there were no other team to dislike they would not even be interested in the team that they supposedly support. That goes for fans on both sides.

The one and only time I've been to Wrigley was for a work event in the summer of 2005. Didn't even know where Wrigely was. And being a trashy southsider, I'm surprised they let me in.. lol. (But I did silently ask for my Dad's forgiveness from heaven as I walked inside). People who's only arguement is to use the same old tired stereotypes about the other team's fanbase, are pretty lame and really have no case.

I love the Sox more than any other team, and really, I love Sox baseball more than is probably healthy for a grown adult. And I'll admit, I've watched Cubs games my whole life too, just don't have a feeling for them either way. Win or lose, eh.

I love the Chicago Cubs and I love the Chicago White Sox equally! I cheer for both and when they play each other, I hope for either a tie or an even number of wins between them. Go Cubbies! Go White Sox!

the only people who claim to like both the sox AND cubs are the people who don't know anything about baseball

Kevin Replies: Quiz me, chief.

my wife has a couple relatives who claim to like both the sox and cubs. they're also the same people who don't know anything about baseball. I once asked one of them who the sox starting third baseman was at the time. he didn't know. i asked the other who the cubs starting third baseman was, she didn't know. any fan of baseball knows the answers to those questions were Joe Crede and Aramis Ramirez. I remember talking to a guy once at a sox/cubs game at the cell 2 years ago who claimed to "love both teams". Again, I asked him a question. "Who's that guy right there?" (pointing to alfonso soriano in left field, and he didn't know. maybe i'm generalizing here, but there seems to be a theme. pick one or the other, sox OR cubs, but not both. if you like both, chances are you don't know anything about baseball. Go Sox!!!!

ok.... from what organization did the white sox receive john garland and who did they give up to get him?

Kevin Replies: Cubs. Karchner. July 1998.

did you google that for the answer? just kidding....

Kevin Replies: I know this because Karchner is among my favorite characters in the scintillating novella, "The Mitchell Report."

who did the white sox receive from seattle in a trade that included miguel olivo and jeremy reed?

Kevin Replies: Freddy G. and Big Ben Diesel? I'm on a nickname basis with a striking number of ex-South Siders.

in 1993, the white sox lost to what team in the ALCS? who did that team beat in the World Series, and who hit the walk off world series winning home run for that team?

Kevin Replies: For the answer to this, I need look no further than my hero Mike Royko's brilliant October 5, 1993 column on the ex-Cub factor titled "Three ex-cubs assure spurning of Atlanta."

It includes the following passage:

"But this puts a Chicagoan such as myself—a devout Cubs fan—in a difficult position.

"Those who are true fans of the White Sox or Cubs loathe the other team. This crosstown rivalry takes precedent over city pride. So if the Sox play the Braves, I must root for the Braves. It is the only decent thing a Cubs fan can do. Sox fans, being dedicated haters, will understand."

It was Joe Carter of the Blue Birds who put the nail in the coffin of the ex-Cub laden Braves, thus keeping the ex-Cub factor alive and well. Until, perhaps, the 2008 World Series?

And yes, before you mention it ... Royko would not like this post one bit.

actually, the jays beat the phillies when joe carter walked them off in 93, not the braves.... the philles i believe beat the braves in the NLCS that year to advance to the WS

Kevin Replies: You win.

I have never ventured into my son's debates, but, I feel driven to respond to this controversy. I went to Sox games because we were served beer underage. I went to Cubs games because my mother grew up on the North side. Kevin was raised loving sports, for the joy, suspense, agony, and yes, spirit of competition. I fail to understand why people can't appreciate all things Chicago. By the way, I live in Alaska. Go Lance Mackey, Iditarod champion for the 3rd year in a row. Bring it on PETA.

Kevin Replies: Welcome, Mom. I am forever in awe of your ability to work anything Alaskan into a conversation about Chicago sports.

Mike-

Bitter and miserable? Hardly. Only Cub fans are that along with being delusional and you just made my point. Again, Happy anniversary !!

I was raised a Sox fan, and still watch/listen to as many games as possible even though I live on the West Coast now. I've watched them play Oakland and Anaheim at their stadiums in CA.

The thing I didn't like about the Cubs last year was the fact that they were over-confident about their chances to win the series. It was almost like they had earned the title, and playing the Dodgers in the opening round was only a small formality. Result: 3 Game sweep of Cubs by Dodgers in opening round of playoffs.

On the other hand, the Sox had to win three games vs three teams in 3 days during the last part of the season to earn the right to play Tampa Bay. They weren't expected to win the AL Central, but did and even won 1 playoff game against a better, younger Tampa Bay team.

This season, who knows?? Maybe the Cubs won't choke again. To be fair, I don't see the Sox making the playoffs this year. I hope that I'm proved wrong :)

It disgusts me to see the bashing of either of the Chicago teams from fellow Chicagoans. It is possible to like both teams. I loved this article, and some of the responses I've seen from people. It bothers me to see the plain uneducated and rude comments hailing from both the north and south side. I love the city I grew up in, always have always will. I grew up on the North side, I have family members who are Cubs fans, and members who are Soxs fans. I also have friends that live on the south side. I will admit that I am a Cubs fan over a Sox fan. BUT this is only when they rival one another. Otherwise I like both franchises. I respect both teams and will support them. I would rather see a Soxs win than a Cards, Brewers or Twins any day of the week. I love going to games at both stadiums, and I love the different atmosphere that you get at each game. It really bugs me when I see a Cubs fan cheer for a team in the same division just because "I don't like the Soxs,I'm a northsider." Grow up the teams are in 2 different leagues for crying outloud. In 2005, I was ecstatic that the Sox brought a world series title home to Chicago. The way I see it I have a favorite team in each league. NL- Cubbies, AL- Soxs, and I don't see what the big deal is. What do you care about which baseball team I like better? It's a game meant for entertainment, socialization and to create hometown pride; not to divide us. I think it's more childish to continue this Cubs vs Soxs rivalry. Does it really make us any better of a city? No, it doesn't make you any better if you bash the other team. I will always bleed Cubbie blue, but Go Go White Soxs is fine with me too.

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin Allen published on March 18, 2009 9:13 AM.

Kevin & Kyle offer a bevy of sensible bracket tips for the NCAA tournament was the previous entry in this blog.

Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian have unrealistic bodies, aren't afraid of showing them off is the next entry in this blog.

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