By: Mark Fitzgerald
When it comes to baseball in Chicago, North is North and South is South, and any newcomer who thinks you can root for both the White Sox and Cubs baseball teams is soon disabused of the notion.
In Chicago, even the mayor takes sides on baseball: South Side native Richard M. Daley is, naturally, a Sox fan.
The antipathy may be particularly intense this year as the White Sox, despite a recent losing streak, are cruising to the playoffs with the best record in baseball, while the Cubs — just four outs away from getting to the World Series two years ago — watch their playoff hopes fade with every new injury to their supposedly can’t-miss pitching staff.
So the promotion the Chicago Sun-Times launched Sunday is either a daring gamble or a foolhardy step on the third rail of Windy City sports.
In what it’s describing as “A contest for Cubs fans who know when to give up the goat,” the tabloid is offering a pair of tickets to watch the Sept. 7 White Sox/Kansas City Royals game from the paper’s luxury box in U.S. Cellular Field. (The goat reference is to a supposed curse placed on the Cubs back in the 1940s when the team refused to allow entrance to a goat belonging to the owner of the famed journalists’ watering hole, the Billy Goat Tavern.)
All that Cub fans have to do is write an essay of up to 500 words about why they want to attend a Sox game on the South Side.
The promotion was kicked off in its “Sunday Drive” feature pages in the sports section.
“The Sunday Drive feels for Cub fans still clinging to the pipe dream of making the playoffs, let alone the World Series,” the offer reads. “We want you to experience the thrill of root, root, rooting for a home team that actually rewards your loyalty and enthusiasm. … So put away the petty rivalry and enjoy a Chicago team that legitimately can be considered a contender for the city’s first World Series championship since — gulp — the 1917 White Sox.”