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Cubs, Sox Play For Trophy Starting This Weekend. SHH! Don't Tell Anyone Who's Sponsoring It!

Let’s be honest. Cubs and Sox fans have made a big enough deal about the six interleague games between the two teams over the years, that a prize for the team that won the most games each year wasn’t really on anyone’s radar.

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The Crosstown Cup, then, is all about money — a sponsorship deal for the two teams. Great idea, right? A few more bucks for ballplayers?

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Sure, but the teams chose the worst possible company, the one whose oil spill is currently fouling the Gulf of Mexico, BP. It’s awful timing more than anything else — the deal was apparently signed before the spill. And then there are the inevitable jokes; some suggested that maybe the cup could be used to try to cap the spill.

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The teams, not surprisingly, are now low-keying the sponsorship:

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“We’re trying to stand behind our sponsor, but at the same time be respectful of what’s happening off the ballfield,” Cubs spokesman Kevin Saghy said. A BP spokesman did not return a call seeking comment, but representatives from both the Cubs and Sox said it was their understanding that BP’s planned promotion of the newly minted cup — a three-foot trophy of brass with a sterling silver overlay that took local jeweler Howard Kaplan three months to create — has been scaled way back in the wake of the oil rig explosion.

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Smart move. But, says the Sun-Times article linked above, there could be positive things from this in the future:

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“If BP manages to get everything under control in the Gulf, it could come back a year from now and use the BP Cup as a great platform to help get out the message that they have successfully handled the problem,” said Jim Biegalski, a Chicago-based senior vice president in the sponsorship consulting group for the Marketing Arm.

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But right now, that’s a mighty big “if” for BP.

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Let’s hope that “if” comes true. That would be good for both baseball and humanity.