My secret Sox shame
For TOC's take on the Cubs/Sox playoffs, check out our guide here and in this week's issue.
Most Sox fans I know (myself included) didn't have much faith going into last Sunday's game, for fear of having our hearts broken again. But a cautious optimism sprung up after Monday's game, and last night's spectacular defensive showing has fanned that flame into full-on hope and Sox pride.
Therefore, it pains me to type the following: I don't want the Sox to make it to the World Series this year.
As a Sox fan, the worst possible scenario would be for both teams to end up in the World Series. Here's why: If the Cubs beat us, that would be a humiliation too horrible to bear. Even if we went on to the Series again each year for the next ten years, we would never live that loss down. In a Trib article this morning, Jerry Reinsdorf said as much:
Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf told USA Today that Sox fans would be very upset to lose to the Cubs in the World Series, to the point that maybe they would rather their team not even go to the Series if it meant losing to the hated North Siders.
"It's just the way it is in this city," he said.
He's not wrong.
Not quite as bad would be the scenario wherein both teams make it to the Series and the Cubs lose. Then we Sox fans would have to endure God knows how many more years of chants like "It's gonna happen" and "This is their year." Until the Cubs win the World Series, no matter how well the Sox do, their accomplishments will always be overshadowed by the possibility that the Cubs might win it all again. Someday.
Besides, think of what a Cubs-Sox World Series would mean to the economic vitality of the city of Chicago. In a recent NY Times article, Sox catcher/chief mook A.J. Pierzynski said it best:
"I’m like, 'You don’t really want that to happen because the city would just probably explode,'" Pierzynski said. “And no one would be able to go to work. No one would be able to do anything because there would be fights every day at work, and just because it’s so passionate and the fans are so amazing."
The book When Chicago Ruled Baseball notes that Chicago's productivity was brought to a standstill the last time both teams met in the Series in the year 1906:
The city council, in a Monday-night session filled with laughter and cheering (COUNCIL CHAMBER IN SESSION RESEMBLES COLLEGE CAMPUS ran the headline), had passed a resolution freighted with no fewer than seven "Whereases" and a carload of platitudes that gave municipal workers the day off. The Board of Trade closed as well, and some of the city's banks planned to release parts of their workforce on a rotating schedule throughout the Series. The Daily News, which saw CHICAGO SEIZED BY A BASEBALL FRENZY, was of the opinion that "until the world's championship in baseball is decided commerce is threatened with paralysis."
You see? Economic paralysis! We're going to need a bailout plan for the World Series if this happens. Obama campaign, I'm putting you on notice: This could be your October Surprise.
So that's why I'm hoping the Sox win their division, but get knocked out by (hopefully) the Angels (I don't want to see Boston up there either). And then the Cubs can go on to win the World Series, thereby levelling the playing field (so to speak) and the Sox's future victories will no longer be tainted by the whispered "What ifs" of Cubdom. Yes, it makes me feel like a traitor. But I'm willing to lose a battle if it means winning the war.
Of course, all this assumes the North Side doesn't suffer from a rash of Cubbie occurrences and end up crying in its overpriced Old Styles when the Dodgers make the field run blue with Cubbie blood. But hey, what are the odds of that, right?
UPDATE: Just noticed that the Trib's Eric Zorn is pondering the same question. According to preliminary poll results, most Sox fans seem to agree with me.