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AS FOR THE Taste of Chicago, the event was interesting enough that I had a cousin who felt compelled to go; in large part because it was a chance to see and hear Erykah Badu perform live.
Then again, she is from San Antonio, Texas, and was in town for the week as a tourist. Which means she was probably in similar company.
The Taste of Chicago just doesn’t seem the same as its glory days of the 1980s into the early 1990s when major restaurants all used their political clout to be included and it was a part of the way Chicago celebrated Independence Day.
Now, it’s just a shell – only five days, and scaled back to the point where I suspect there are suburban festivals that come across as more interesting. Maybe even the Air Show in Gary, Ind., that may wind up costing the city government more money than it brings in?
THEN, THERE’S THE head-to-head competition between Chicago’s two major league ball clubs – the mediocre Cubs vs. the grossly underachieving White Sox.
Not exactly the matchup that’s going to inspire anyone to care – except for the fact that it provokes the standard South Side vs. North Side rivalry that exists in just about every aspect of Chicago’s nature.
Now I don’t know if I agree with one-time Chicago Tribune sports columnist Bernie Lincicome, who wrote a commentary for Friday implying that the match-up is lame and never mattered worth squat. Even though I’ll agree that interleague play feels like a distraction from the regular season games that matter!
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I’d agree to the degree that being able to say you’ve beaten up on the Cubs isn’t any great achievement – every other ball club does the exact same thing. Why should this series be any different?
BUT THE FACT that neither of these teams is in any serious contention makes the matchup seem all the more cheap. It would be sad if the White Sox wind up saying that their Friday 1-0 victory was the season’s highlight. (A hit batsman, a stolen base, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly provided the lone run – Wee Willie Keeler would have been proud).
I didn’t even feel compelled to watch much of Friday’s White Sox victory on television. I actually caught a portion of a rerun where Buffy beat up on some ridiculous demon once again, before changing the channel to WGN where I caught the end of the White Sox’ broadcast.
The Cubs’ broadcast, by comparison, was relegated to Comcast Sports Network. Now I realize times have changed and the W-G-N call letters are no longer synonymous with baby blue baseball, but it still feels like a flawed juxtaposition.
I may not catch any of the other games. I have family obligations (my other relatives beckon on Saturday) that may keep me away from a television.
BESIDES, WHAT COULD have been the key baseball story of the series won’t happen. White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija last pitched on Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays (winning 2-0). The former Chicago Cub from Valparaiso, Ind., won’t go against his former ball club.
That would have been interesting, because I wonder if the Cubs who fantasize that they still have a shot at a playoff spot this season ought to try to acquire Samardzija from the White Sox, who may wind up unloading ballplayers in hopes of saving money and picking up potential prospects for the future.
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Besides, the real meaning of this series is that we’re at the unofficial mid-point of the baseball season – the All Star Game will be played Tuesday in Cincinnati. Maybe the second half won’t be quite as depressing.