Two years ago I wrote a blog post after the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the 2015 NLDS. I could see the writing on the wall in regards to the landscape of Chicago baseball, and wanted to voice my thoughts as a disgruntled White Sox fan.
The blog proceeded to go viral, which was actually pretty cool. My ramblings somehow got over 100,000 of clicks and views, and I’m thankful for it. It was a wild experience.
You can read that original post here (I suggest checking out the comments as well).
But here we are, two years later in life, with the Cubs going to the postseason for the third straight year for the first time in over a century, and the White Sox missing the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.
The context of everything changed forever last November when the Cubs won the World Series, and it still feels weird living in a post-Cubs World Series world at times, although I’m sure zero Cubs fans would describe their experience as such.
The context has also changed on the South Side. The White Sox are now a year in to an organizational rebuild engineered by GM Rick Hahn to create a franchise built for “sustained success.” The Sox finally decided to tear it down and start rebuilding last offseason. You can argue whether or not the Cubs finally winning the World Series (after their own rebuild) had any impact on decision making in the Sox front office. I’d say you’re crazy if you think it didn’t have any impact. But regardless, the Sox started the process of changing the way they do things from top to bottom.
They traded ace pitcher Chris Sale to Boston to get top prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, they traded Adam Eaton to the Nats for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning, and they traded another star pitcher in Jose Quintana to, whom else, the crosstown Cubs, acquiring Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, and two other prospects.
The crazy thing is, those weren’t the only trades Hahn made throughout the 2017 season. He was wheeling and dealing all year long. It got to a point this summer where I was almost expecting the Sox to make some move every single day. While all of the dealing went on, the team on the field deteriorated and began to lose at a rapid pace, eventually putting the Sox in the No. 4 spot for the 2018 MLB Draft (imagine being mad about that sentence). The reason they weren’t No. 1 was the fact that a lot of those prospects came up to the big club, the team started playing well as a unit, and the Sox managed to have an exciting August and September, giving us a ton of hope, and a nice draft pick to go with it.
A team that lost 95 games paved the way for arguably the most anticipated White Sox season since 2006. When all the dust settled, the Chicago White Sox owned the best prospect farm system in all of baseball, setting themselves up quite nicely for the years ahead.
All of that to really say this: given what the White Sox are now doing, and given what happened last year, I just really don’t care if the Cubs have success again this postseason. I actually find myself stuck in some sort of a middle point, on one end fighting my natural reflex to just hate everything about the Cubs, and on the other end just simply not caring about them as much anymore.
My attention and focus is totally tuned on the White Sox and what Rick Hahn is doing on the South Side. The last two years I couldn’t honestly say that.
I was embroiled in the Cubs’ run to a World Series a year ago, and what made it worse was that the White Sox had zero direction whatsoever as a franchise. The Cubs winning seemed like the end of the world because of how inept and lost the Sox seemed to be at the time. But in the end it may have been the perfect wake-up call, and I said as much back in my 2015 post (Read excerpt below).
That sure aged well.
This October, instead of being filled with spite, I’ll be full of genuine Sox hope while watching a third straight edition of Cubs postseason hysteria. That is not to say I won’t watch all of the games and have my opinions and commentary. I’ll probably still make a few snarky comments, let loose joking text messages to my Cubs friends, and for damn sure won’t be rooting for the Cubs to win. I just won’t be hanging on every pitch like last year.
What’s really cool is how we are setting up for a glorious era of Chicago baseball. The city has a chance to become the center of the baseball world for the first time in years (like, a lot of years). How great would it be for each Chicago team to annually be controlling their division and chasing the postseason? I almost cannot get my head around that thought, but it’s no longer a crazy notion.
So best of luck, and enjoy another October, Cubs fans. Because the White Sox are coming, and we are coming quickly.