Chicago White Sox: Who is their No. 1 AL rival?
By Brett Pnazek
In case you missed it, the worldwide leader in sports just wrapped up rivalry week in college basketball, which got me thinking about who are the rivals of the teams that I root for.
Jul 24, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton (1) celebrates the win over the Minnesota Twins with shortstop Alexei Ramirez (10) at Target Field. The White Sox win 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
It was quite easy for me with the Chicago Bears, because clearly their rivals are the Green Bay Packers, and the Chicago Blackhawks’ rival are the Detroit Red Wings (though that may not be for long).
The Chicago Bulls were a tad more difficult to find a rival, but I think the Cleveland Cavaliers have earned that spot for me since that can be punctuated by Michael Jordan’s shot over Craig Ehlo.
That just leaves the Chicago White Sox.
The obvious answer is the Chicago Cubs, because they both reside in Chicago and fight for the media’s and fans’ attention on a daily basis.
However, I am looking for a rival who resides in the American League. The White Sox, like most of the AL outside of New York/Boston, lack a true rival. The AL has gone from one division to two divisions and in 1994 added a third division, so it is been hard to develop divisional rivalries that have lasted lifetimes.
Historically, you’d expect it to be someone who they’ve played a lot. That would essentially make it one of the following teams: the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees or the Oakland Athletics.
That’s half the AL right there, so the rival has to be someone from the AL Central, meaning that would leave Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota. (Kansas City does not make the cut since they have only played the White Sox around 700 times).
Cleveland and Chicago have played over 2,100 games against each other, and they were the two best teams in the AL Central when it was created. It remained that way until the Twins’ dominance of the 2000s. The negative here is these two teams went 25 years without being divisional rivals.
Speaking of the Twins, they and the White Sox dominated the AL Central in division titles in the 2000s, collecting all but one combined. These two teams also played in one of the greatest game 163s of all time in ’08, which was won by the White Sox 1-0 on Jim Thome’s solo shot.
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Lastly, we have the Tigers, the team which has dominated the Central in the 2010s. They, like the Indians, were members of the AL East for 25 years, while the White Sox were in the AL West. The negative in this series is that I can’t remember more than a handful of seasons in which both teams were competitive. The one memory I do have is the brawl in the 2000 season.
An argument could be made for each team in terms of being the White Sox No. 1 AL rival, but I personally believe it comes down to the Indians or Twins. If forced to pick just one top rival, that choice would be the Indians, and I am pretty sure the writers of “Major League II” would agree, as it is the White Sox who the Indians beat at the end of the movie thanks to “Jack Parkman’s inability to hit off Wild Thing.”
Let us know who you consider the White Sox No. 1 AL rival.