Cubs, Sox fans share passion for rivalry
Intracity series brings out fun, love for baseball in backers
CHICAGO -- Standing against the back wall of Wrigley Field and watching his beloved White Sox play, Matt Reynolds hears a loud "Go Cubs!" sent his way from the man standing next to him.Reynolds laughs as he knows that he's in so-called enemy territory, but his reaction is typical of the relationship between most Cubs-White Sox fans, he raises his beer and jokes, "Well, which team is in first place now?" to which lifelong Cubs fan Roy Godzicki laughs and says, "You got me there," as he toasts his own drink. While the rivalry may be downplayed between the two teams on the field, the competitive nature still runs strong between fans of the two clubs. Unlike some other rivalries such as the Yankees-Red Sox, though, the competition between Cubs and White Sox fans is more about good fun. "It's one of those types of rivalries where we can scream and yell at each other during the game about our team, but then go get a beer afterward," Godzicki said. For any fan of baseball in Chicago, the two weekend intracity series are as good as it gets. It's these six games when fans can chide each other about the success of their respective teams and get together for some good-natured cat-calling. No matter what the status is of either team, the fans always seem to come out in droves on the rivalry weekends. Attendance figures at Wrigley averaged around 39,000 for the three-game series this weekend, with each team represented heavily in the stands. No matter your own team's record, most fans attending games are for one side or the other. Godzicki is one of the many proud Cubs fans sporting his red and blue and making sure that everyone around him knows where his loyalties lie even if his team's record isn't as good as its opponent. "We believe we'll come back," Godzicki said of the team's difficult start. "Plus, we swept them last year here so I'm always proud to be a Cubs fan." No matter where the series takes place, fans from the other side of town travel to the opposing team's ballpark to make sure their presence is well-known. "We came to invade the enemy territory," Matthew Scalise, 23, said with a laugh. "Not really, we came to root on our team. It's all in fun and it's always friendly." Steve Faust moved to Chicago a few years ago, but this weekend was the first time he was able to attend the intracity series. Faust grew up near Boston and has been a fan of the Red Sox since he can remember, so he knows a thing or two about intense rivalries. "They are definitely dedicated to one side or the other," Faust said of the Chicago fans. "Even amongst families, I've seen the kids like the Cubs and the parents like the White Sox, and boy do they get upset with each other." The ribbing between the fans is nothing new in the city, but as the time passes since Interleague play began, the rivalry may grow even more. Although he's seen how intense the fans get for their love of their team in Chicago, Faust said the rivalry still has a ways to go to reach the status of other famous rivalries, including the rivalry between the Cubs and the Cardinals. "Eventually, this rivalry will be really good," Faust said. "The passion is there, but they don't have the history. This started in 1997, so the two teams may have shared a city but they didn't share as much competition on the field, unlike the Yankees and Red Sox that have faced each other for division titles for years." The intensity may grow with time and more games on the field, but there will always be something that fans can get along about that doesn't happen in other rivalries, their love for Chicago. "It's all about Chicago," Cubs fan Amanda Nelson, 27, said. "Having a gorgeous weekend like this where you can come out and support your two teams, this is what it's all about. For us, it doesn't get any better than this when you can share in the love of baseball with everybody in the city, whether you are a Cubs or Sox fan."
Kelly Thesier is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.