Choose your side: White Sox or Cubs?
When you're born in Chicago, you have to choose a side. Your decision can be geographically-based on where in the city you're from, or which surrounding suburb you grew up in. It can even be based off family ties and who your favorite uncle - or the one you couldn't stand - cheered for.
But no matter how you do it, you have to choose your allegiance early.
South side or North side?
Black or blue?
Sox or Cubs?
Only two cities in Major League Baseball have multiple teams residing within city limits - the Angels, unlike the Dodgers, play in Orange County, & the Giants and A's, while both in the Bay, play in different cities. The Yankees play up in the Bronx while the Mets' home is in Queens, but the battle lines aren't drawn the same way in New York. The Yankees have been the mainstay for over a century, and while there's a fair share of Mets fans in New York City, they pale in comparison to the fanbase of the Evil Empire.
Chicago is a Bears town. When the Bulls are great, the city rallies behind the franchise in droves. Hell, even when the Blackhawks are winning the city turns up. But when it comes to baseball, the sibling rivalry gets real.
Cubs/White Sox might be a cordial battle on the baseball field, but in the stands, it's real. My first Cubs/Sox game was way back in '99, a Sunday Night game at old Comiskey Park, and Cubs fans were boxing it out with Sox fans down in the Infield Box seats. It's REAL! Even before the Sox got that 2005 World Series and threw it in the faces of Cubs fans for 11 years at every chance they got... there's not an interleague rivalry in baseball that matters more to its fans than the Bragging Rights of the Crosstown Classic.
The teams have met every year since 1997, and no matter if the Sox are good and the Cubs struggling, the Cubs dominant while the Sox are tanking (as is this weekend's series), or in the rare case, both teams are really really good, the Red Line series is appointment television. No one will forget Michael Barrett's punch on AJ Pierzynski that cleared the benches in 2006, or Carlos Lee's 2-out, walk-off grand slam in the 10th in 2001. What about Ozzie unrelentlessly trash-talking Wrigley Filed or when the Blackhawks brought out their newly-minted Stanley Cup and everyone was on the field like one big happy dysfunctional family.
And family is what we are. We come from blended, divided families where the arguments spark off every family reunion. There's always an Uncle Frank (not his birth name, but the name he gave himself because of his love for Frank Thomas) who gets drunk off his ass and wants to yell about how the Scrubs will live up to their name and be completely useless by September. He's a dick, but you love him (a bit) and his love for baseball all the same.
The series divides the best of friends, and even lovers. Fellas, don't take your obsessive Sox fan girlfriend to the game. It's all fun and games when she's downing 312's nuzzled against your neck, but the second Kris Bryant smashes one onto Waveland and the Cubs go up by 5, her afternoon is ruined and guess who ain't getting no secks tonight? That's right. It's you.
Cubs/Sox crowds are electric, no matter the standings or the score. In recent years, the brawls in the stands have come fewer and further between, but the same candor remains. Sox fans are still talking shit about the Cubs, even if the other team finally got their ring and their squad is at the bottom of the division. Cubs fans are still defensive, but now they have a shiny new trophy to hold over Southsider's heads. The rivalry has taken many shapes over the last two decades, but the fire remains inside every fan in Chicago.
And the ones who claim to be fans of both? Fuck them. If you're a real Cubs or Sox fan, you know all that shit is phony... you may not be the biggest of baseball fans, but everyone here knows you can't play both sides. That's worse than being a bonafide fan of the other team!
Allegiances mean everything in Chicago. Choose wisely, or risk getting stomped out on 35th for talking the wrong shit to the wrong person.
No seriously, Sox fans are angry people. They will fuck you up.