CIW Debates: Cubs V. Sox

It’s Opening Day, and we’re dredging up a rivalry almost as old as Chicago itself: Cubs versus Sox. Like most any Chicago workplace, we’re a house divided.  Managing Editor Erin Robertson sat down with Director of Programming Brooke Scheyer to talk shop and try to get to the bottom of the Cubs-Sox rivalry once and for all.

Erin Robertson: OK, first things first, let’s get this out of the way: I’m a White Sox fan, and you’re loyal to the Cubs. So, how did you get here?  What’s your history with the Cubs?  How long have you been rooting for them?
Brooke Scheyer:  For as long as I can remember. My family and I have always been Cubs people. I’ve always loved the energy and spirit of a game at Wrigley and the commitment of the players on the field. The Cubs also gave me my first job in sports—logging balls and strikes for the electronic scoreboardsso they have a special place in my heart for that opportunity as well. I will also say, however, that I’m a Chicago fan first and foremost so I don’t root against the Sox (even though they’re clearly the inferior option).

What about you?

Erin: Well, I didn’t really have much of a choice—I come from a South Side baseball family.  My grandfather, Bob Finnegan, was public address announcer for the White Sox for two decades, up through their final game at Old Comiskey.  Plus, I’ve got to say, it feels good to root for a team whose last World Series win was just slightly more recent than 1908.  
Speaking of which, how are you feeling about their chances this year?  
Brooke: Wow, that’s a good piece of Erin trivia. And about this year…let’s just say I’m most looking forward to celebrating Wrigley Field’s 100th Anniversary. Beyond that, I’m hoping Starlin Castro can just let loose and come back with a great 2014 season. I think he’s a really fun player to watch. It will also be interesting to see what happens with Jeff Samardzija. That could change up a lot.
But hey, whatever worries Cub fans should have, they are not nearly at the level of you South Side sports fans. The 2013 lineup was widely regarded as the most inept on the field. Your team only had 63 wins—the worst since 1970.
Erin: Yeah, I’ll admit, last year was not a great year to be a Sox fan.  And we didn’t even have an off-the-wall owner like the legendary Bill Veeck to take the heat off the team by drumming up interest through (ill-planned, perhaps) events like Disco Demolition Night.  
I’m hopeful though.  For one, there is nowhere to go but up.  But there’s also been a shake-up to the starting lineup, and we have some new blood, like first baseman Jose Abreu who had 9 RBIs over 13 games this spring.  I mean, at the very least, NBC sports says this year should be “more interesting,” so that’s something, right?
Brooke: Sure. Let’s go with that.
Erin: OK, let’s play rapid-fire Cubs vs. Sox.  I’ll list the stadiums, mascots, etc., and we’ll each defend our team’s version (or not).  So, here goes.
Wrigley vs. The Cell
Brooke: The most storied sports venue of all time, period. Day games, rooftops, ivy, the manual centerfield scoreboard, the marquee, Take Me Out to the Ballgame – the list goes on. I’ll choose the Friendly Confines over the Cell anyday.
Erin: U.S. Cellular is not as historic as Wrigley, true.  But there are no inconveniently posted poles blocking your view, and it is definitely more family-friendly—the focus is always on the baseball, and not on the beer.
Brooke: Fair—but you’re forgetting that perhaps the focus on the baseball might not always be such a good thing. Do I need to bring up last year’s record again?
Clark the Cub vs. Southpaw
Erin: Mascots with punning names win, every time.
Brooke: This might be the only point I’ll concede to you. The Cubs don’t need a mascot. Perhaps Clark will grow on me though. We’ll see.
No Designated Hitter vs. DH (the eternal National League vs. American League debate)
Brooke: If you’re a professional athlete in a particular sport, you should play the sport in it’s entirety. Yes, there might be “defensive specialists” or those who excel more at one part of a game than another—that’s part of it. But there’s a reason they let Shaq shoot free throws, and it’s because it’s part of the game. You shouldn’t get to pick and choose.
Erin: See, I almost would say it wouldn’t be that bad if Shaq could’ve played without having to go up to the free throw line.  Designated Free Throw Shooters: Think about it, NBA (OK…maybe not).  DHs make for exciting play—there’s something so satisfying about watching a slugger like the White Sox’s (and Hall of Famer) Frank Thomas step up to the plate.  And you get so many interesting, inspiring personal back stories that come along with designated hitters, to boot.  Like second baseman Mike Andrews, the Sox’s first DH and the league’s second, whose career would have been over—he got the throwing yips—were it not for the introduction of the DH.
Erin: And finally, the most important question: How many bears would you wrestle for the Cubs to win?
Brooke: ALL OF THEM! Bring on those bears. 

Brooke Scheyer is the director of programming.

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