Cubs manager declines jab at Sox

The Chicago White Sox-Chicago Cubs rivalry has been losing its edge in recent years and new Cubs manager Rick Renteria just missed out on a chance to add some spice.

Asked about the decision of White Sox slugger Adam Dunn to attend the Academy Awards on Sunday night, Renteria had the chance to deliver a right cross to an exposed chin. He could have said the Cubs are only interested in the task at hand, or that if it isn’t about winning baseball games, then it isn’t worth discussion.

Renteria, though, who is lauded for his good-guy demeanor, instead said that he didn’t blame Dunn for attending a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“I’d be pretty impressed, quite frankly, if somebody was invited to do that,” Renteria told reporters this weekend. “(Dunn) is a guy with a few years of experience under his belt. I think managers in this situation probably are giving him some leeway and allowing him the opportunity of a lifetime. Not everybody gets to the Oscars. You never know who he might rub elbows with.”

You can’t blame Renteria for not stirring the pot. He’s new around here and it’s not his fault that both teams have failed to deliver scintillating play in recent years, outside of a slight uprising by the White Sox in 2012 that still ended without a playoff appearance.

There is no Ozzie Guillen around anymore to poke fun at his opponent, his own team or even Wrigley Field during the cross-town rivalry. Renteria and White Sox manager Robin Ventura will have to earn attention with a better brand of baseball, and perhaps then tickets to the rivalry won’t be available the day of the game like they were last summer.

For the record, the Cubs will play host to the White Sox on May 5 and 6. The series will shift to U.S. Cellular Field on May 7 and 8.