The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox meet every year to battle for the "Crosstown Series" which traditionally causes a divide among Chicago baseball fans. While the two have shared the same city limits since 1901, they did not actually play each other in the regular season until 1997 when inter-league play was established. Over the years they had some memorable games and some bad blood between the fans and even the teams.

In 2010 they even added the Crosstown Cup to the mix, but in reality the rivalry has kind of died down this past decade for several reasons. Local newspapers and radio stations still try to hype up these games, but to players and a lot of fans these days they are just seen as games.

The peak of the rivalry

The first meaningful games between the two teams technically started in the 1906 World Series, the only time they met in the Fall Classic when the White Sox beat the Cubs four games to two to win their first title.

But from then until 1996 they only met in exhibition games before the regular season that did not mean anything, and was just for fun. The first regular season game between the Cubs and Sox was on June 16, 1997 at Guaranteed Rate Field (then called New Comiskey Park) which started the new Chicago tradition.

There were some good games the first few years, but the absolute peak was from 2006-2008 and it all started with a punch.

On May 20, 2006 in a game at Guaranteed Rate Field, the defending champion White Sox were playing a last-place Cubs team early in the season. Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski tagged from 3rd base on a sacrifice fly to left field and in the process rammed into Cubs catcher Michael Barrett. After Pierzynski put his hand on home plate and went to get his helmet, Barrett went over and proceeded to punch Pierzynski right in the face which ignited a benches clearing brawl.

Though this brawl happened 11 years ago, it is still arguably the most talked about moment in the Crosstown baseball history. It was not forgotten by Cubs fans who continued to boo Pierzynski throughout his career at Wrigley Field, especially as a member of the White Sox. The intensity continued the next several years into 2008 as both teams were in playoff contention. The Cubs swept the Sox at Wrigley Field in three and the Sox swept the Cubs on the South Side in three and both teams went on to win their respective divisions.

While the Crosstown World Series that people hoped for did not end up happening that year, it was fun to see two contending Chicago teams duke it out.

Starting to die down

Since 2010 the so called "rivalry" has simmered down for a number of reasons. For a majority of these years neither team was really any good. The Cubs had a drought of winning seasons from 2010-2014 and the White Sox despite having two winning seasons in 2010 and 2012 had not had any success either.

In 2013 the Cubs and Sox lost a combined 195 games and both finished in last place, and 2014 lost a combined 178 games both finishing near or at the bottom. The decade has seen lows in attendance for the games that traditionally always sold on on either end of town, starting in 2012 when less than 100,000 people attended the crosstown games on the South Side.

The Cubs have risen to be World Champions while the Sox have yet to see the postseason since 2008 and have entered a rebuild phase, so the teams are pretty lopsided right now. This was evident in the latest crosstown series that just ended on Thursday night when the Cubs took three out of four from the Sox as the Cubs battle for first place and Sox are in "tank mode" in 2017. Even some of the players do not really care about the whole Crosstown Cup thing, as evident by several members of both teams not knowing there was an actual trophy or what it looked like.

It is also interesting to note that the format of the series has changed in recent years from two, three-game series (one at each park) on the weekends, to a weekday/weeknight series of four games (two games at each park). There is less time and availability for fans to attend these games during the week as opposed to when they were being played on Saturday afternoons and Sunday evenings. Baseball games see their best attendance during the weekends either way and these games would be no exception between the Cubs and Sox.

Future looking to regain intensity?

There are several factors that can restore the intensity of these games. One that seems most certain is the White Sox being good again. The team is in a full rebuild and has stocked up on a ton of prospects they look to bring up and make into stars. The Cubs are an established champion team that is still very young and will be around for a while. A few years down the road it is pretty likely the two teams will be contending at the same time and both fanbases will be more into the games between each other for "bragging rights". It may be another year or so down the road but it is something that a lot of baseball fans are speculating.

There is also the question of schedule changing. Nothing is confirmed or officially being talked about, but if they go back to the traditional format of the two series on weekends, that should certainly help out the fan participation. It is hard seeing this current format staying forever but who knows. Until these times come, the best Cubs/Sox moments to be remembered are long in the past.

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