Crosstown Classic: A Fan's Guide

The Cubs and White Sox have squared off every year since 1997, much to the delight of Chicago baseball fans and Chicagoans looking to pass the time until football season. If recent history is any indication, the White Sox will take 4 of 6 games and both teams will miss the playoffs. Something totally unforeseeable would have to occur for this not to happen again this year. With that in mind, there are plenty of ways for you, no matter which team you support, to enjoy yourself, and enhance the enjoyment of others while watching the games this weekend. There are also plenty ways to ensure you won't be invited back to the sweet Friday afternoon BBQ next year. Follow these DOs and DON'Ts to cement your reputation as a valuable asset to the Crosstown Classic party.

DO understand these games don't matter. Or at least no more than any other game this season. Every year some excitable television reporter asks a few of the players if this series means more than the others. Said players predictably answer, "No. We approach this series like we do any other. The fans make it a bigger deal than we do." Cliche-ridden answers are usually an athlete's way of avoiding the question, but in this instance, they are being perfectly honest. They aren't going to try EXTRA HARD to win just so you can show up to 1st period English popping your De Aza shirsey in everyone's face.

*Aside* People love to contest this point by referencing the Michael Barrett-A.J. Pierzynski incident in 2006. Their fight had nothing to do with the emotions and competitiveness supposedly brought out by the Cubs-Sox "rivalry." Throughout history, one asshole has challenged another, bigger asshole to a fight in order to assert his dominance. It's evolutionary biology. Barrett was simply trying to piss on the fire hydrant Pierzynski had been pissing on for years.

DO NOT resort to "safe" trash talk. Trash talk is highly recommended, and in some years, can be the only redeeming factor of the series. While I would never discourage trash talk, I would caution you away from the same old same. For example, Sox fans: Cubs fans are well aware their team has not won a World Series since 1908. They're reminded of it quite often, actually. There's no need to continue to remind them. And Cubs fans: Sox fans can see that no one shows up to their games, and that their stadium is located in the less affluent part of town. They also don't need constant reminders. You're better than this, Chicago baseball fans. Expand your repertoire and show some confidence in your creative abilities.

DO make sure to fact check your insults. I get it. The sports world is fast-paced and overlapping. You almost certainly expected the Bulls to still be playing at this time of the year. The optimists out there may have expected the Blackhawks to still be in the running as well. Truth be told, you're only watching baseball because there's nothing else on until Bears training camp. That's fine. Just remember to check and make sure last year's insults still apply. So Cubs fans, Adam Dunn was your favorite whipping boy last year. He's had a really nice start to the season. Replace his name with Alexei Ramirez. And Sox fans, Ryan Dempster is normally a safe bet for some shit-talking. He's also had a great start to the season. Replace his name with Chris Volstad.

DO NOT get into a physical altercation with the opposing team's fans. This should go without saying, but leave the tough guy act to the opposing catchers. We've been a lot better about fighting in the stands than we were at the series' inception, and as Americans, are still nowhere near our European counterparts when it comes to fan violence. By all means, act like an idiot, as long as your idiocy remains verbal.

HEY I LIKE MY TEAM MORE THAN YOU LIKE YOURS!!

YOU DO NOT!!

I DO TOO!!

WHY DON'T YOU FIGHT ME THEN TO PROVE IT!!

THAT SOUNDS LIKE A FANTASTIC IDEA!! I'M GLAD YOU THOUGHT OF IT!!

It's not a fantastic idea. You'll find yourself spending a night in jail for trying to prove your devotion to your team, which was never in question to begin with.

DO antagonize the person wearing a Half Cubs, Half Sox jersey. Finally something Cubs fans and Sox fans can agree on! Who does this Darwin Award candidate think he/she is, rooting for BOTH teams? There's only three reasons why someone would wear a Half Cubs, Half Sox jersey, none of which are defensible.

  1. "I'm just a fan of all Chicago teams!" As if Chicago sports is a "We are the World" music video. It doesn't work that way, and I see right through you. You root for the Cubs when they're good and root for the Sox when they're good. When they both suck, like this year, "you're a fan of ALL Chicago teams!"

  1. "I'm just trying to appease my spouse/significant other. He/she is a fan of the one team and I'm a fan of the other." Is that seriously an issue in your relationship? It's time to end that relationship.

  1. "I just can't choose! Both teams have so much to offer!" First of all, no they don't. Second of all, ma'am, you're 37 years-old. Flip a coin for Christ's sake.

DO NOT refer to this series by its official name, the BP Crosstown Cup. Say "BP Crosstown Cup" out loud. It sounds moronic. Everyone will make fun of you. And while associating incompetent upper management and destructive oil spills with Chicago baseball seems appropriate, this series is still not deserving of a corporate sponsorship. By sponsoring this event and constructing a trophy for the winner, BP continues to perpetuate the falsity that this series is more important than others (see above) and that these teams are playing for something more than 3rd place in their respective divisions.

There you have it. Follow these simple DOs and DON'Ts this weekend and your viewing pleasure should improve immensely. Also be sure to drink plenty of beer. When watching two bad teams play baseball, beer helps more than anything.

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