BOZICH | Why does a White Sox fan have a $10 Cubs' win World Ser - WDRB 41 Louisville News

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BOZICH | Why does a White Sox fan have a $10 Cubs' win World Series ticket? It's complicated

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The Cubs enter the post-season as the 2016 World Series favorite. The Cubs enter the post-season as the 2016 World Series favorite.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The picture that accompanies this column is not counterfeit or photo-shopped.

I possess a $10 ticket on the Chicago Cubs to win the 2016 World Series.

Why?

Taking the high road?

Counterfeit attempt by a lifelong White Sox fan at taking the high road?

Journalistically trying to stay ahead of The Only Story in Baseball (shot at national media intended)?

Jinx strategy (think Sports Illustrated cover, which currently features guess who)?

Brutal admission of 2016 Major League Baseball reality?

White Flag panic attack?

I wish I could explain. It is all of the above. It is none of the above.

This is the best way I can describe it:

If the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, I win $40, which I will donate to charity (including the $10 my WDRB sidekick Mike Lacett has refused to take after purchasing the ticket at my request at Mandalay Bay Sports Book in Las Vegas).

If the Cubs do not win the World Series, well … there will be plenty of time to fill in that blank. I have friends (read: White Sox fans) who will assist.

Confession: Initially I said if the Cubs won the World Series I'd win cash -- and if they didn't win, I'd win another year of emotional relief.

But that's not true.

What's the term used to describe relationships in social media? Complicated?

My relationship with the Cubs is complicated -- as it is for most White Sox fans.

In baseball, especially after the Red Sox won the first of their three World Series in 2004, the Cubs have cornered the market on cute and lovable. The White Sox are mostly ignored.

When the Red Sox won that first World Series since 1918, they were rewarded as Sportsmen of the Year by Sports Illustrated. I expect to see the Cubs honored by Sports Illustrated, Time, The Economist, People, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone. When the White Sox ended their drought from 1917 in 2005, they were rewarded with shrugs.

The national media writes love letters about the Cubs' park, neighborhood, seventh-inning stretch routine, celebrity fans, management and direction. The White Sox have President Obama and a bunch of guys named Grabowski. The Cubs have become America's team. The White Sox are a neighborhood team -- on the edge of a dangerous neighborhood.

The Cubs stole the White Sox announcer (Harry Caray) and a chunk of their fans. The White Sox just hired a manager the Cubs fired.

Mark Prior, the Cubs' previous savior, was ticketed for Cooperstown before he won his first game. He retired with 42 victories. Mark Buehrle, the heartbeat of the Sox 2005 champs, pitched in the shadow of Prior and Kerry Wood -- and retired with 214 victories, four Gold Gloves and five All-Star appearances. In Chicago, Buehrle was no Mark Prior.

The Cubs can't do anything wrong. The White Sox can't do anything right. At least that's how it is portrayed.

I recognize a Cubs' victory would be the best thing for baseball interest in a football world. A Cubs' loss would not be a bad thing for baseball because it would hype the story of their unparalleled futility for Season 109.

I know Cubs' fans who have invested years of emotion without celebrating the ultimate payback. They love the Cubs for the baseball, not the -- cough -- ivy and ambiance. They deserve their parade, too.

I also know it seems as if Cubs' Nation has been planning this World Series celebration since May 10, when my $40 win ticket was purchased.

Make no mistake. The Cubs were the best team in baseball all season. They're young, athletic, talented, deep, aggressive, sound, intelligent and relentlessly hyped. It's the eighth quality that makes the first seven difficult to swallow.

Braves' catcher A.J. Pierzynski gets it. Of course, he gets it. He played eight seasons for the White Sox, including the 2005 World Series championship season (had to get that in).

In June, after the Cubs steamrolled the Braves, the Chicago media asked Pierzynski for his analysis of the NL Central leaders.

"We knew we weren't going to win the World Series," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "They've already given that to the Cubs. The American League should just forfeit the rest of the season …They're already anointed."

For me, there is no escaping the Cubs. I can't change lanes without bumping into a Cubs' fan -- college friends, cousins, uncles, aunts, nephews, work associates, sources, coaches, insurance agents, a woman from Elgin, Ill., who introduced herself at the doctor's office last week …

Dan Barreiro, my former college roommate and a current radio sports talk host at KFAN in Minneapolis, and I have navigated the Cubs/White Sox dance for decades.

He calls and leaves messages from Andre Rodgers, Paul Popovich or Willie Smith. (If you don't know the names, sorry, but you're a Cubbie Come Lately.)

I call and leave messages from No Neck Williams, Bee Bee Richard or Wilbur Wood. (If you know those former Sox players, I'm worried about you.)

He lived and ultimately died during every pitch of the blown 9 1/2 game lead in 1969 -- Jimmy Qualls, Dick Selma, Don Young, black cat, Ron Santo, the works.

He reminded me that somebody allegedly spilled Gatorade on Leon Durham’s glove before Durham whiffed on that ground ball in San Diego in 1984. In 2003, when the Cubs were leading the Marlins 3-0 and five outs from the National League pennant, I called with congratulations.

Oops.

There will be NO PHONE CALL, Daniel, until it’s official this year.

There will also be no escaping the Cubs until their final fate is confirmed. How suffocating has it been this season?

I posted this question on my personal Facebook page Wednesday:

Taking an unofficial headcount for column research: If you're a Facebook friend of mine and a Cubs' fan, please identify yourself.

At last count 92 people boldly stepped forward, a few with this caveat: Does this mean you’re going to unfriend us?

No. I hope not.

It just made me question if 92 people would step forward if I asked for White Sox fans to identify themselves. I know the answer.

I saw former NBA champion Will Perdue in the Kroger parking lot Tuesday. Perdue played for the Bulls, who are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, who also owns the White Sox. 

Perdue and I talk Chicago sports sometimes. He leans toward the South Side, than North Side. Perdue sold me two seats from the original Comiskey Park. Not tickets, actual seats.

He sold me his two tickets (tickets, not actual seats) for Game Two of the 2005 American League Championship Series, making it possible for my son, Alex, and I to share the most satisfying sports event I have ever attended  -- the Pierzynski bogus dropped third strike, Joe Crede walk-off double game against the Angels.

Perdue was entering his car when I walked through the parking lot. He emerged to talk baseball and hoops. First thing he said:

"How are you going to handle this?"

I don't know. Probably not well.

I've tried to take the high road. Really. I can't claim 100 percent success but I have tried to navigate the entire baseball season without a single snarky Cubs' Tweet. I've asked several friends to be accountability partners the next month.

I don't think I'm convincing anybody. Pat Forde, my former colleague and friend, and I appear before the start of every college football season for an event at Big Spring Country Club. We usually take 90 minutes of questions. This year, as usual, there was a question or two about the Cubs.

A Cubs' fan approached after the session to continue the baseball conversation. I'm always ready to talk baseball. I told him I was OK with the Cubs winning this season. Pat shook his head and interrupted:

"You don't mean that."

Was it that obvious? I'm trying.

So here we go. Cubs vs. Giants.

Followed by Cubs vs. Dodgers/Nats.

Followed by Cubs vs. the American League. Only then will they be anointed.

If the Cubs win the World Series, I'm cashing that ticket and sending the money to charity.

If the Cubs don’t win the World Series, well, it’s complicated.

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

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