Go White Sox... Sort Of

Commentator Aaron Freeman has always been a Chicago Cubs fan. But now he's reluctantly admitting that he's fast becoming a White Sox fan, too.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Chicago is one game away from a World Series championship. Here is the call from FOX from the end of last night's 14-inning, nearly six-hour-long game.

(Soundbite of FOX World Series broadcast)

Unidentified Announcer: The 1-1 pitch. Everett pops it up, on the infield for Uribe. The White Sox are up three-games-to-nothing. A 14-inning game ends 7-to-5 Chicago.

BLOCK: For Chicago Cubs fan Aaron Freeman, the string of victories by the White Sox has been trying, but as of last night, he's trying to get with the program.

AARON FREEMAN reporting:

All right, fine. I'm rooting for the Chicago Wh--Wh--Whi--White Sox. Hold on here, let me get a little water and collect myself.

(Soundbite of Freeman sipping water; sighing)

FREEMAN: You know, I might as well be rooting for the Russian hockey team or the Teheran soccer club. But after last night's 14-inning Methuselah classic, even Cub fans like me give a measure of grudging support to the Wh--Whi--White--the Chicago team in the World Series.

I mean, people out there in the United States just don't understand that in Chicago when we choose up sides as fans, we do it literally. If you're on the North Side of town, you must love the Cubs. It's sort of a class thing, I guess. I mean, we Cub fans do tend to think of the White Sox as sort of a baseball equivalent of NASCAR, an inexplicable blue-collar phenomenon that will certainly pass as soon as our education system improves. I mean, but now all these Sox fans expect us Cubophiles to just go `Rah, rah, rah, rah, rah!' like it's all behind us, but it's not. I mean, I tried to explain, for example, to my Aunt Fannie from Memphis, and she's like, `But y'all live in the same city.' No, we do not! The North Side of Chicago is not the same city as the South.

The north Side, the Cub side, has many, many things the South Side does not have, like a clue. But that's gratuitous and inaccurate, but it felt good. Anyway, look, all my life, an important part of being a Cubs fan has been to hate the White Sox. There's no rational reason for it; it is just a part of the game. You go to Wrigley, you have a frosty malt, the best kosher hot dog and you hate the White Sox. Now that is how God intended it.

See, the thing is these South Siders--all right, they are as obsessed with baseball. They're all about who's got the most skilled players, who's got the best won-loss record. But we Cub fans are not so linear. Cub fans live and breathe to watch baseball, preferably in our magnificent park on a warm summer's afternoon, enjoying a seventh-inning beer buzz beneath a sky so blue the Cubs song sings itself. We hold in contempt people who are so niggling and statistics crazed that--but that really only applies during the regular season.

Hey, I've been working my way up to roo--rooting for the White Sox. They're an excellent team, the best team in baseball. See, there. There you go. I am proud of the White Sox, and they will be the world champions. And next year, in a cross-town series, the Cubs will grind them into the ivy-shaded dust of Wrigley Field. But I mean that in the best possible sense. Go, White Sox.

BLOCK: Commentator Aaron Freeman is a performer and writer in Chicago.

ROBERT SIEGEL (Host): You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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