by Mohammad Samra / Staff Reporter
The subtle crack of a baseball being launched by a wooden Louisville Slugger bat pierced the air at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona.
The Chicago Cubs began preparations for the team’s first season under new head coach David Ross, where they are looking to make the playoffs after failing to do so for the first time since 2014.
27 miles northwest of Mesa, the Chicago White Sox are also attempting to improve after yet another uninspiring season on the South Side. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008 but appears to be on the cusp of something special with its current youthful core.
Major League Baseball is set for its most interesting season in years amid the situation concerning the Houston Astros. The team has received backlash from fans and players for using technology to steal signs during their 2017 championship run. But, by late October, nearly every baseball headline could belong to Chicago.
Both the Cubs and the Sox are historically bad franchises—nearly identical in that regard. They have three championships each, two in the early 1900s and one in the 21st century, with a major drought in between. The Sox lost the 1919 World Series a year after the Cubs lost against the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic. Both teams lost all of their playoff series in the 1980s and ‘90s and suffered through an era of unwatchable baseball before finally breaking their respective curses.
The Sox are currently where the Cubs once were in 2014. They have an incredibly high ceiling and an incredibly low floor. Dallas Keuchel adds much-needed stability to the rotation, and Yoan Moncada will only continue to flourish as time goes on.
The Cubs head into the 2020 season with urgency, as their championship window appears to be slamming shut after the 2021 season. The squad has a wealthy amount of talented players like Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. However, the starting rotation and bullpen will be crucial for a team that blew 30 save opportunities in 2019 according to FoxSports.
If both teams can maintain some level of consistency, it is likely we see them in the playoffs at some point in the next few years, especially with MLB looking to expand the number of teams that play in the postseason. Although there are powerhouses like the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Washington Nationals proved that anything can happen in the postseason after winning the World Series from one of the two Wild Card spots.
The storylines that stem from a Cubs-Sox World Series are endless. Jose Quintana faces his old team. Eloy Jimenez faces the team that traded him. Also, two of the most versatile offenses slugging it out for the Commissioner’s Trophy would send Chicago into chaos as they debate which team will reign supreme and why.
Both teams are also vying for their fourth championship, not to mention the endless amount of bragging rights for the fans of the winning team. The clash would dominate headlines, and Chicago would instantly catch baseball fever.
It is extremely rare to have two teams from the same city compete for a major championship. The last such occurrence was in 2000 when the New York Yankees defeated the New York Mets to secure their 26th championship.
A “Crosstown Fall Classic” would surely produce moments that’d be enshrined in Chicago sports history, especially if such a series boils down to a winner-take-all Game 7.
Both teams kick off the 2020 season on March 26, and the chances of a Cubs-Sox World Series showdown may be incredibly slim, yet they are still the highest they’ve been in decades.