Powell: Crosstown Classic Is Always A Good Time

Anthony Swarzak #34 of the Chicago White Sox reacts after getting the final out against the Chicago Cubs on July 24, 2017 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Cubs 3-1.(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

By Kevin Powell

North Side vs. South Side. First-place vs. Last-place. Title Contender vs. Rebuild. That’s what this year’s Crosstown Classic is. And it couldn’t be more fun. Whether it’s a rivalry or not, there’s no denying that when the Cubs and White Sox faceoff, it’s always a good time.

“I’d much rather play the ’27 Yankees every night,” manager Joe Maddon before the series opener at Wrigley. The Sox appear to be an annoyance to the Cubs, who have their eyes set on another World Series run. Instead of focusing on the NL Central race they’re stuck with the Sox, who are treating this like a postseason series.

“I was pretty excited, I was pretty pumped up,” Sox slugger Matt Davidson said after their 3-1 victory on Monday. “This is the closest thing to a playoff game or a really meaningful game.”

In game two of the series, the real fireworks came from the broadcast booth when Ken ‘Hawk’ Harrelson did this…..

That came after John Lackey hit his fourth batter of the game. Love ‘em or hate ‘em that was entertaining stuff from Hawk. And it certainly got both fan bases fired up on social media.

Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune put together a really cool article detailing some of the best series between the two clubs. 2006 featured Michael Barrett punching A.J. Pierzynski at The Cell. The Sox were defending a title that year, while the Cubs were eight games under .500 at the time. This year’s series obviously isn’t at that level, but you can certainly draw some comparisons. The pesky Sox refuse to back down to the World Series champs, and it has become must-see TV.

Kris Bryant was even ejected from Tuesday’s game. Who ever thought they’d see the mild-mannered MVP get tossed?

“I had to stick up for myself,” he said after his team’s victory.

Byrant called it just another game. Albert Almora Jr. said the same after the opener. Kyle Hendricks says there’s a bit of a rivalry. Anthony Rizzo called the series “fun.”

While the Cubs try to remain focused, it’s pretty clear that the Sox are getting under their skin. And maybe we’re just one hit batter away from a repeat of the ’06 brawl. Stay tuned.

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720