Crosstown Classic between White Sox, Cubs hasn’t been played on weekend in two years, has this caused series to lose its flare?
Over the past several years, many fans and pundits alike have questioned if the Crosstown Classic between the White Sox and Cubs has lost its fire. While neither side of town will ever lose the burning desire to win, could the fuse somehow be re-lit? Let’s take a look at the factors that are hampering what once was one of the most heated inner-city rivalries in baseball.
Less matchups per season
Back in 2013, Major League Baseball made a decision which crippled the Crosstown Classic for fans on both sides of town. Prior to that season, both teams met six times per season outside of 1997 and 1998 when just three contests occurred. With two series each year prior to 2013, this meant fans got to experience an actual baseball series on both sides of town.
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Now, if both central divisions are not facing off in interleague play, both teams only face off four times. In that scenario, supporters of both clubs only get two shots to see games at their stadium. Thankfully for both sides of town the aforementioned situation will take place in 2018, meaning three at each park next season.
Games played during the week
This is another major issue regarding the disinterest of the rivalry. Weekday games mean there is a much higher rate of a night contest, and who wants to head out to a baseball games on Wednesday night when they have work the next day? The answer to that question is far less than on the weekend, which has hurt the crowds some, especially on the South Side.
A reduced atmosphere
Due to the reason listed directly above, an atmosphere which was once made for a playoff game has deteriorated to the level of a large regular season crowd. While games were once sold out well in advance, now just barely sell out as game-day approaches. Given Guaranteed Rate Field was packed on Wednesday and will be again for a second straight night on Thursday, much of this improvement has to do with the Cubs recent success.
Poor on-field play
This is arguably the most important reason of all, which has changed dramatically for the North Siders since the beginning of the 2015 campaign. On top of that, there has been a large disparity in talent many years, and will be next season as well. Assuming the Cubs can perform at an elite level over the next five to seven years and the White Sox prospects are legit, things could get heated up in this rivalry very quickly.
Overall, when both clubs first began to face off in 1997 fans were ecstatic. However, the lust has seemed to wear off what was once a simmering feud between fanbases. While all fans have their reasons, these matchups are not Michigan versus Ohio State in football. Neither side considers their season a success or failure based on this series, and never will moving forward unless they meet in the World Series.
The purpose is to get to October, and the Cubs can do that in 2017 by winning as many games as they can, not just by beating the White Sox. We know the Sox situation, so will the season be a success if they win a meaningless trophy?
Enjoying the sea of blue at Guaranteed Rate Field, Sox fans? I hope you can bear it.