As break approaches, Chicago has 2 1st place teams

July 10, 2008 3:43:17 PM PDT
As Major League Baseball approaches its mid-season break with the All-Star game is next week, it is time to take stock of the season and recognize that not only does Chicago have two first-place baseball teams; they're good enough to ponder baseball being played around here well into October. How far and exactly who will be on the diamond are open questions. But there's definitely a sense that despite curses, cats or previous success, in 2008 it's fun to be a baseball fan in Chicago.

Little ones everywhere this day were getting a souvenir outfit for their loved ones.

Young Marisa Bradley was asked if she thought the Cubs would win a World Series in her lifetime.

"Yeah, maybe, hopefully," she replied.

"You know, I don't want to talk about the World Series until Game 6 of the World Series," said Matt Peeken, who brought his son to Thursday's Cubs game.

But something's up, like the name Chicago in the standings. Both of the city's Major League clubs sit atop their divisions.

The pair has not been so perched this late in the season since September 9, 2003. And we know what happened that October - the Steve Bartman catch that eventually sent the Marlins on to the World Series, leaving the Cubs behind. That year, the Sox finished second in the American League Central.

In 2005, they won it all while the Cubs came in fourth. In 1959, the Sox lost the October Classic while the Cubs finished fifth. The Cubs were already 14 years removed from their last World Series - the 1945 loss to the Detroit Tigers, a year the Sox came in sixth.

" It has to happen before I die, so they better hurry up!" laughed Joan Butkus, Cubs fan, when asked about overcoming the 100-year curse.

By acquiring Oakland As' pitching ace Rich Harden, a team that is sending seven players to the All-Star game has fans who are willing to dream again. Even the would-be savior is excited.

"What I've heard from people just how passionate fans are, how crazy they are about baseball. Someone told me it's like playoffs every day," said Harden.

And the mayor, whose allegiance to the Sox is no secret, is doing what he can to make sure the Sox play their part to make an all-Chicago World Series.

"The town would just go nuts, it would be such fun. Of course, I would be rooting for the Sox to sweep them in four," said Bob Messick, Sox fan.

The last all-Chicago World Series saw the White Sox, known as "The Hitless Wonders" beat the favored Cubs four games to two after the Cubs had gone 116-36 during the regular season of 1906.


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