The Commish Online                                                                                
North Side or South Side?
May 19, 2003

It's an age old question asked at the beginning of every year in Chicago.  While New York fans debate over which date in September the Yankees will clinch their division, Chicago fans ask a more modest question:  which team will win more games, the Cubs or the White Sox?  With both teams expected to do well this year (although the White Sox are failing to live up to expectations at the present time), it's time for Bunker and Dewey to slug it out over this topic.

This week's topic:
Who will win more games this year, the Cubs or the White Sox?

Dewey: It's a tough call, but with the Cubs already a few wins up on the White Sox, I have to give the edge to the North Siders.

Bunker: Then you know nothing about the "rich" Cubs history, Dewey.  You must take into account the constant ability of the Cubs organization to disappoint the fanbase year after year.

D: I do know that, but I also know that the Pale Hose haven't exactly exceeded expectations over the last century.  They couldn't reach the World Series when they dominated in 1983, they came up short in 1993, and were overmatched by Seattle in 2000.  The Cubs have done no worse, making the playoffs in 1984, 1989, and 1998.

B: Believe me, the Cubs have been worse.  They haven't had back to back .500 seasons since the early '70's.  The Sox, while not exactly setting the world on fire, have won more games than the Cubs 10 of the past 13 years, and I see no reason why this year will be any different.

D: Then you're not looking at the pitching.  The Cubs have an outstanding rotation with Prior, Wood, Clement, and Zambrano.

B: I am looking at the pitching, and while I admit that the Cubs have decent pitching, the South Siders have Beurhle and Colon and some young guys who can throw as well.  Like I said, though, with the Cubs, you can't look at the talent or the potential stats.  You just have to realize that it's the Cubs and they're going to disappoint.  If both teams are at .500, the talk shows offer World Series dreams for the Cubs but bad mouth the White Sox.  Why?   Because the Sox demand greater success from their ballclub.

D: The talk shows have nothing to do with the results on the field, so your argument holds no water.  The facts are simple:  this year, the Cubs have enough pitching depth to avoid any lengthy losing streaks.  Meanwhile, the White Sox already played the easiest part of their schedule (the first 19 games) and didn't take advantage of it.  Their hitters aren't hitting, their star pitchers aren't coming through for them, and the morale is about as low as it can get.

B: That's exactly my point.  These two teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum from a morale standpoint, and yet just a few games separate them.  The Cubs will slump at some point this year and Thomas, Konerko, Lee, and the other hitters in the Sox lineup will start producing at some point.  When that happens, the White Sox will start winning ballgames, regardless of the opponent.

D: Not true.  They still can't get past the Twins, who aren't exactly worldbeaters.  Throw in the Yankees, Red Sox, and the tough west coast teams, and the White Sox will have to dominate the lower ranks, like Detroit, Baltimore, and Cleveland, and they had trouble doing that earlier this year.

B: I said I didn't want to get into stats for this argument because the Cubs' failings have more to do with the talent on the field, but the Cubs struggle with the Cardinals just as badly as the Sox struggle with the Twins.  Just look at this past weekend - neither team did well against their rival on the road, so you can throw that argument out.  The fact is that the Cubs always have and always will find a way to come up short.  It's what's so endearing about them.

D: You're entitled to your opinion, but a strong opinion is usually backed by some facts, and you have provided none.  I will conclude by saying that the Cubs have a decent schedule ahead of them, as no one in the National League appears to be a major power.  This should give the North Siders a chance at 90 wins or better, a number the White Sox will never approach this year.

B: I see the Sox finishing right at the 90 win mark, with many games still left against the lowly Tigers and Indians, not to mention six games against the Cubs, which I believe they will take at least four.  They are close to .500 and have yet to get rolling, so once they do you will see the 90 win potential as well.  As for the Cubs, they are better than last year, but it's tough to be worse.  With Sammy's bad toe and the club's history of bad karma, 85 wins sounds about right.

D: You keep believing that.  In the meantime, I'm going to start counting the Cy Young votes for Mark Prior because it's going to take a while to get through such a large pile.

B: Take your time.  You'll have all of September to count because nothing else of interest will be happening on the north side.

The Commish's verdict:  Dewey
This one is a split decision, but I have to give a small advantage to Dewey for winning the argument simply because Bunker didn't offer much to back up his side.  However, I do agree that the Cubs will find a way to falter down the stretch, as the lineup is downright meek without Sosa.  This is something Bunker should have addressed to get his point across, but he stuck to the argument of past failings guaranteeing future failings for the Cubs.  That's not a solid formation for an argument, so even though I think the White Sox will finish a few games better than the Cubs, the verdict goes to Dewey.