Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Yankees are coming! The Yankees are coming! Does anybody still care?

One of the highlights of the Chicago White Sox season is in town for the weekend – the New York Yankees make their annual visit to the Second City.

Not everybody in Chicago boo-ed Damn Yankee Alex Rodriguez on Friday. Photographs by Gregory Tejeda
It’s a phenomenon common to all the cities that have baseball franchises in the American League – the Yankees come to town to do their part to demoralize the local sporting fan populace.

AS IN THE Yankees administer a butt-whomping (13-6 on Friday) that causes local baseball fans to whine and cry about the unfairness of life. Or, by chance that the Yankees have an off weekend, they bolster the locals into thinking they have achieved something of significance.

They “beat” the Yankees before going back to being mediocre for the remainder of the season. They earned their bragging rights for the season.

So what happens now that the White Sox are getting their crack at the Yankees; and have their attendance bolstered (just over 30,000 seats sold Friday) by the Yankee hoards from the Midwest who want to have their crack at seeing their team live? Images of the Babe, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter will fill their heads in place of Mark Texiera, Stephen Drew and C.C. Sabathia.
Rodriguez replica jerseys abounded the ballpark
I was amongst that crowd. My brother and I were at U.S. Cellular Field for the Friday night game, and it will be interesting to see if the beatings the White Sox gave to the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox in recent days will continue.

HECK, THE WHITE Sox could be a team with a winning record if they can keep up their winning ways.
A father and son rooting for A-Rod
Then again, those winning ways could come to an end this weekend and the White Sox would revert back to a team that thinks a .500 winning percentage and a third place finish for 2015 would be dreams come true.

I did find it interesting to see that Jeff Samardzija is listed as the Sunday afternoon pitcher for the White Sox against the Yankees. If that actually happens, then it means all the talk about last-minute deals prior to Friday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline was worth nothing.
The spirit of the Babe and Mick were in Chicago

It doesn’t surprise me, since I suspect the pieces that the White Sox could deal away in hopes of gaining a youthful prospect for future seasons aren’t worth much.

THE WHITE SOX would likely wind up with some other team’s ballplayer suspects who will get themselves released from a minor league affiliate come spring training of 2016.

Still, it will be interesting to be on hand for what could be one of the last significant series of the White Sox’ 2015 season. Some might argue the Chicago Cubs series coming up in mid-August will also draw attention.

But that has the potential to be a three-game set between two third-place teams that fall short of making playoff appearances. Which might be a big deal to the overly-local scene that wants to think Sox/Cubs is equal to a World Series.
Fans left flowers at the ballpark statue of Billy Pierce, the Go-Go era star pitcher who died Friday
It just isn’t. Although I think if we ever got a real Sox/Cubs match-up in the World Series, that could be one of the most intriguing ever – although I still remember the 2000 Yankees/Mets match-up that had some people whining about how overly-parochial the fan bases were being

BUT THAT MATCH-UP does appear to be a fantasy for now. The Cubs are likely to fall short this year, and the White Sox would have to struggle to come close to a playoff appearance. I’m not sure which team’s fans are more delusional about the chances.

Oh heck, it’s the Cubs’ fans who are delusional. They always are, about everything.

But regardless of what happens on the playing field this weekend, it soon won’t matter. It may already be running second to the sporting activity that began this week in Bourbonnais.

The delusions of summer training camp and pre-season football for the Chicago Bears will take place, with the first pre-season game against Miami on Aug. 13. In fact, Chicago Bears fans may well be the only ones more delusional than our city’s baseball fans.


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