Williams stresses 'Chicago pride'
Sox GM says fans can enjoy success of both city teams
CHICAGO -- Picture this scenario playing out some time in late October.
Actually, if you are a White Sox fan, you might want to briefly turn away from the computer screen.
The Cubs, behind Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Marmol, Derrek Lee and countless others, emerge with their first World Series title in 100 years. But here's the real kicker -- White Sox fans celebrate, or even pleasantly acknowledge the Cubs' triumph.
Sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn't it? According to Ken Williams, the concept is not as crazy as it appears.
"I'll tell you this, if we don't win the World Series, it reverts back to a Chicago pride thing for me, and I hope that they do," Williams added. "I hope our fans, if it comes to that, after the disappointment of not seeing their team achieve their goal, it would revert back to a Chicago pride thing."
Williams discussed this topic after telling the Chicago Sun-Times before the last Cubs-White Sox series how he was disappointed more sectors of the city didn't celebrate the White Sox title in 2005. He followed up that thought with his now infamous "Happy Anniversary" comment, directed at the Cubs fans.
On Friday, he acknowledged there were Cubs fans who took pride in the White Sox accomplishment, but there were plenty who didn't.
"It's too bad the rivalry has become so intense and so ingrained that you can't allow yourself to revert back to pride for your city and your neighbor," Williams said. "I grew up in the Bay Area, so I rooted for the Giants and the A's and the 49ers and the Raiders.
"But I also knew that if they played, I was an A's fan and a Raiders fan. I still enjoyed the championships that both organizations brought to the city and the area.
"This is a little different," added Williams with a smile. "This is a lot different."
Maybe it's easier for Williams to think about sharing the wealth since his team arrived first at baseball's high-water mark. After all, it was Williams who said in 2004 that he wouldn't have been able to watch the Cubs in 2003 if they had reached the World Series.
As for this weekend's competition, coming one week after the Cubs decisively swept the White Sox out of Wrigley Field, Williams viewed it like any other series he wanted to win.
"Listen, I want to beat everyone -- I'm a competitive person," Williams said. "When there's a team eight miles north of you and you are sharing a marketplace and market space, I want to make sure, as the person that's responsible for putting the product on the field, I want to make sure we did our fair share. That should not be a surprise.
"Let's not kid ourselves. I would be lying if I said I didn't want to beat these guys and beat them in a way that our fans would be proud of. I don't want to beat them more than I want to beat the teams in our division. These games are important in Chicago. They are important to our fans. They are important to us. I'm not saying anything new."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.