Monday, June 14, 2010

An Empty Cup


     Managers Lou Piniella of the Cubs and Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox officially unveiled the BP Crosstown Cup Friday at Wrigley Field. The cup is to be awarded to whichever club wins the annual six-game interleague series between them. (If the teams split the six games, the winner of the final game will get the Cup.)
     When the creation of this meaningless trophy was announced in April, both organizations claimed to be thrilled. “Cubs and Sox fans have always been passionate about this rivalry,” said Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts. “The BP Crosstown Cup recognizes the excitement of winning the crosstown series.”
     White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf expressed similar sentiments. “Thanks to Chicago’s baseball fans, this city is such a passionate baseball town, particularly when it comes to the White Sox vs. Cubs in interleague play,” he said. “We think the creation of the Crosstown Cup, made possible through this unique, two-team, one-city partnership with our friends at BP, will elevate Chicago’s summer baseball rivalry to a new level for fans on both sides of town.”
     Well, press releases are one thing, and reality is another.
     The timing of the trophy's first appearance in public could not have been worse. First, BP is the same company that had one of its drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico explode, killing 11 workers and fouling the gulf and its beaches with 39 million gallons of oil (so far). Second, the Cubs and Sox are headed nowhere fast, standing at a combined 13 games under .500 when the series opened. Third, the Crosstown Cup appeared the very same day that the venerated Stanley Cup--a trophy that really means something--was being paraded through the streets before a crowd estimated by city officials at two million.
     At Sunday night’s Cubs-Sox game, the Stanley Cup was actually in the house, along with the entire Blackhawks team.
     Cubs and White Sox fans don't see eye-to-eye on much of anything, but they agreed on at least two things this weekend. They joined together in celebrating the Blackhawks’ championship and in vociferously booing the Crosstown Cup.

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