Baseball in Chicago: Two Teams, Two Cities
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
Sports now. For the first time in nearly half a century, the World Series came to Chicago over the weekend. The White Sox won both games on Saturday and Sunday against the Houston Astros. NPR's Jason DeRose explores whether the traditional divide between South Side Sox and North Side Cubs holds true in Chicago when one team makes it to the World Series.
JASON DeROSE reporting:
The Picasso sculpture in downtown Daley Plaza is wearing an enormous White Sox cap. The same goes for the stone lions outside the Art Institute. And right outside US Cellular Field Sunday afternoon, South Sider Richard Carrity(ph) is also wearing a White Sox cap. Practically in tears before the game, he remembers cheering on the Sox back in 1959, the last time they were in the series.
Mr. RICHARD CARRITY (White Sox Fan): I've been a Sox fan all my life, and it's just very seldom we have winners in Chicago. And I'm glad Sox, Cubs, whoever plays, I'm a Chicago fan, you know. Most of my heart is in Chicago White Sox.
DeROSE: South Siders are Sox fans primarily because the Sox play on the South Side. They also tend to be working-class native Chicagoans like Tony Daniel.
Mr. TONY DANIEL (White Sox Fan): It just doesn't happen in Chicago. And this is the team, you know. The Sox are my team, man.
DeROSE: What do you mean it just doesn't happen in Chicago? Just because it's been so long for the Sox and it's been so long for the Cubs?
Mr. DANIEL: Well, I really don't care about the Cubs, to tell you the truth, but it's been so long for the Sox. And, you know, it just seems like they've always got good teams and it's been a while. So I'm glad they're here, finally.
DeROSE: The Sox playing in the World Series has bridged some of the traditional divide between Sox and Cubs fans. Walking down the street outside the Cubs' Wrigley Field on the North Side, Eric Golden(ph) is wearing a Cubs hat and shirt, this on the day the Sox are in the series. Golden says he moved to Chicago because he loved the Cubs so much, and he says Cubs fans are taking the success of their rivals quite well.
Mr. ERIC GOLDEN (Chicago Cubs Fan): I'm rooting for the Sox because I don't hate the Chicago White Sox. But unfortunately, I don't like the White Sox fans, so I'm not really into the way they'll react to the victory. But I do think they're going to win. So, go Sox.
(Soundbite of cash register)
DeROSE: Even Sports World across the street from the Cubs' Wrigley Field is getting into the action. Usually the store carries exclusively Cubs hats and shirts, but owners made an exception for the World Series this year.
Ms. GINA DiPONIO(ph): I think I'm going to get lynched getting this hat.
DeROSE: Gina DiPonio stopped in to pick up a Sox hat for her grandfather, but she's careful to slip it into her bag before walking outside in this neighborhood.
Ms. DiPONIO: I think that the rivalry is good for the city. I think that it--the fans enjoy that rivalry. But I think that when one is moving forward, everyone gets behind them.
DeROSE: Of course, not all Chicago residents care so much about baseball as Sox and Cubs fans do. But some people, like North Sider Marty Rogo, are still into the World Series coming to town, if not into the game itself.
Mr. MARTY ROGO (Chicago Resident): Actually, I haven't a clue how baseball's played. But I do find it very exciting, you know. Everyone's talking about it and it's just good karma around the neighborhood, on the train going to work, around the office. A good time of year for everyone to be happy.
DeROSE: So it doesn't matter to you whether it's the Cubs or the Sox?
Mr. ROGO: No, I could care less.
(Soundbite of laughter)
DeROSE: Chicago baseball fans get tonight off from cheering. The World Series continues tomorrow night in Houston. Jason DeRose, NPR News, Chicago.
BRAND: NPR's DAY TO DAY continues. I'm Madeleine Brand.
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