Connor Smith is a junior news journalism major. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. Write to Connor at email@example.com.
George W. Bush was finishing his second term in the White House. Snapchat and Instagram were years away from their releases. The United States was in the middle of the Great Recession.
That month also marked the last time the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox made the Major League Baseball postseason simultaneously.
Since then, it’s been a tale of two cities for both teams. While the Chicago Cubs famously ended their 108-year World Series drought in 2016, the Chicago White Sox have not made the postseason since.
However, 2020 has been an exciting year on both sides of town. Currently, the Cubs and White Sox have 97.2% and 99% chances to make the postseason as of Sept. 1, respectively, according to FanGraphs.
I can dream big, can’t I?
With both teams sitting on top of their respective divisions, there’s absolutely reason to believe a Cubs-White Sox World Series could happen come October.
To say the Cubs are in win-now mode is an understatement. Free agency is a possibility for first baseman Anthony Rizzo after 2020, while Javier Báez, Jon Lester and Kris Bryant are eligible to hit the open market after 2021. All four were part of the 2016 championship team.
With the uncertainty of the team’s core moving forward, a championship should be the goal for first-year manager David Ross’ squad. Although many baseball experts have regarded the Los Angeles Dodgers as the odds-on favorite to win the NL pennant, there’s no doubt a Cubs’ run would garner significant national interest.
Posting an 8-2 record over its last 10 games, the White Sox have been nothing short of dominant lately. First baseman Jose Abreu hit six home runs during the team’s series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field Aug. 21-23, while starting pitcher Lucas Giolito threw the only no-hitter of the regular season so far in a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates Aug. 25.
While it is definitely an exciting time to be a White Sox fan, there’s more questions than answers surrounding how the team can perform over an extended postseason run. The White Sox lead the MLB in batting average (.270) and are third in home runs hit (65), but questions remain surrounding the team’s pitching staff.
Many baseball fans argue the White Sox are the “flashier and younger squad.” However, these two teams aren’t necessarily that different in age. The average age of the Cubs is 28.9, whereas the average age of the White Sox is 28.4. Rather, the difference lies in experience and the future of each club. Edwin Encarnación and James McCann are the only significant pieces to hit the open market after this season for the White Sox.
It may seem unlikely, but a championship series between these two teams would mean a great deal for baseball and sports. Championship meetings between crosstown rivals are rare, and such an event would put a spotlight on one of the greatest cities in the world.
As a White Sox fan, a matchup against the Cubs would be a great test for our young core. On the other hand, this would give the Cubs another chance to win it all, as well as an opportunity to reaffirm their supremacy of Chicago baseball.
There's still no guarantee the postseason will be completed. The MLB postponed the Oakland Athletics' scheduled game Aug. 30 against the Houston Astros, as well as their games Tuesday and Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners due to a member of the team testing positive for COVID-19. However, if 2020 has taught me one thing, it’s that anything is possible and to expect the unexpected.
Would a (Crosstown) Fall Classic be bizarre and fun? Yes. However, given the MLB’s constant parity, is it likely? No.
But, is it possible? Yes.
Contact Connor Smith with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cnsmith_19.