A couple of years ago there was a certain buzz at 'The Cell' on a warm Saturday afternoon. It was the 5th game between the two ballclubs that year and the fans were more than ready to get their money's worth. After all, its always entertaining when the Sox and Cubs meet in the crosstown classic every summer.
Coaches and players say "its just another series" and maybe it is, but no matter what, there is a sense of intensity, urgency and a very playoff-like atmosphere during the minimum 54 innings played between the two sides. If it is in fact another series, why did emotions run so high on that Saturday afternoon game also known to many as The Punch Game? Why did AJ Pierzynski get sucker punched by Michael Barratt on a home plate collision? Why are the games always decided by a couple of late-inning plays or heroics? Why is there so much drama?
To believe that maybe, just maybe, the fans bring this mayhem upon the ballclubs is not so far fetched. I find it difficult for players not to get some adrenaline running during a critical at-bat or pitch while fans are cheering at the top of their lungs.
Now magnify those 6 regular season games times 10, add a painted 2008 World Series logo on the grass at The Cell and Wrigley, add a couple of national broadcasts, add the ESPN Baseball Tonight crew, and some Frank TV promos and you might have to magnify that times 100. There has been some buzz circulating about a Cubs vs White Sox World Series because 18 games into the young season the ballclubs are sitting on top of their respective divisions.
The AL Central looks upside down according to many. But the slow starts by the Indians and Tigers are somewhat overshadowing the fact that the White Sox are playing good baseball. Nick Swisher has been an on-base machine and the timely hitting combined with some good pitching and bullpen contributions have the White Sox in first place.
The Cubs are playing with a high-powered offense that only took a couple games to get going. They have put up a lot of numbers offensively and while a couple starting pitchers are struggling a bit, they have played great defense and remained relatively healthy with the exception of Soriano.
Being 18 games in is a mere 11% through the long MLB regular season where teams go through streaks. A long roller coaster ride it is, but the way these 2 teams are constructed may limit the consecutive losing that comes along with playing baseball everyday. Their bullpens are solid and the starting pitching has the sky as the limit. The offense is way to powerful with veterans and proven everyday players to go through any sort of slump altogether as the '07 White Sox did.
Still, its difficult to not just dream about what it would be like. Its nerve-wrecking to think what would happen. There would be some good to along with a lot of bad. The baseball on the field I think would be one of the most memorable. The Cubs are looking at the century mark and for the White Sox to stand in their way adds to this epic fairytake that could unfold before our very own eyes. For the White Sox to stick it to the northsiders would be something that every Sox fan would love, when it comes down to it at the end of the day.
As for the reaction in the neighborhoods, bars, and house parties...wow...who knows. The city might go up in flames for the 2nd time.
But lets awaken, put down the Miller Lite, and come back to reality. The chances of this happening are slim. The ballclubs have been in first place at the same time only twice in the last 17 years. There is better chance the Cubs actually win a World Series than for the 2 teams to actually meet in October.
Until then, lets hope the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) figures out a way to host such chaos on the only thing that these 2 teams hold in common...a train.
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