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Crosstown Classic Preview

By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 18, 2012 4:40PM

2012_05_cubs_sox_logos.jpg With NATO in town, perhaps this would've been a good weekend for Major League Baseball to have scheduled road games for both the Cubs and White Sox. Instead, this weekend is the first installment of the annual meeting between our fair city's two ballclubs. The North Siders and South Siders face off this afternoon in the first of three games at Wrigley Field this weekend.

Brooks Boyer, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the White Sox, weighed in his opinion and the importance of the rivalry during two rebuilding seasons. He did, however, qualify the White Sox as a “rebounding season.”

“Although it’s only six games, these six games mean the world to a lot of fans in Chicago,” he said. “The goal of these six games is to win a majority of them and maintain the BP Cup, but also keep in perspective that there’s a bigger goal at the end of the season to be in the post-season.”

First pitch today is at 1:20pm, with 4-1 Jeff Samardzija facing Phil Humber, whose only victory all season was his perfect game in Seattle. Saturday night's game will feature John Danks and Ryan Dempster, while Sunday's finale has a resurgent Jake Peavy taking the mound against Paul Maholm. With this round taking place at Wrigley under NL rules, we can expect to see Adam Dunn play some leftfield in order to keep his bat in the line-up.

The Cubbies enter the series with a 15-23 record, which places them dead last in the NL Central and ahead of just San Diego in the entire senior circuit. At 18-21, the Pale Hose are still below .500 but in third place in the AL Central and just 4.5 games out of first. About what we expected for each club, given their roster re-vamping and payroll trimming.

Perhaps it's just as well that the crosstown series is in the shadows of NATO, because it seems that perhaps the Red Line rivalry has lost some its edge in recent years—even more so now that Ozzie Guillen isn't around to stir the pot. With interleague play around for over a decade, fans seem to have gotten over the novelty of our National League team playing our American League team for local bragging rights. While proposed changes to interleague play could cut the number of annual meetings to three, Commissioner Bud Selig is trying to keep six games on the schedule -- but is that a good thing?

On the other hand, when neither team has legitimate post-season aspirations (such as this year) winning Crosstown Classic games are at least moral victories. Sure, our team may struggle to win 75 games but if we beat the hated crosstown rival then the season wasn't a total disaster.

Tim Bearden contributed to this post.