Maybe the joke is now the White Sox
Chicago has a new baseball punching bag in the team from the South Side
CHICAGO -- The age-old question has been answered. What do you do when you win the Crosstown Cup?
"They drink beer in it," Alfonso Soriano said with a laugh.
Soriano, a man of refined tastes, said he did not partake.[+] EnlargeBrian Kersey/Getty ImagesIt's not exactly the trophy the Cubs want, but they will take it after sweeping the White Sox.
"When we get the real trophy, I'll drink champagne out of it," he said.
You can't drink beer or champagne out of the Commissioner's Trophy like you can out of the Stanley Cup, but give him a break. He's a Cub now, and it's not like a Cub is familiar with the dimensions of baseball's championship trophy.
Winning three in a row in the city series is good enough for a team built for mediocrity and destined for failure.
Soriano will probably be retired if the Cubs win another "real" trophy, but everyone deserved another drink in Wrigleyville after the Cubs finished off a three-game sweep of the White Sox with an 8-3 victory at Wrigley Field.
The Crosstown Cup, sans beer, will be on tour throughout the North Side for the next month and is available for Wrigley rooftop parties, bar mitzvahs and street festivals. Unless, of course, Theo Epstein flips it for a promising Class-A trophy with a broken handle. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, sources tell me the White Sox are negotiating a trade for the rights to use Carlos Zambrano's "We stinks" in exchange for Kenny Williams' classic "You can't spend a dollar when you only have 50 cents."
While the Cup is seemingly worthless, maybe it's a meaningful talisman because it signifies the Cubs' reign of civic futility is over. Chicago has a new baseball punching bag in the woe-woe White Sox. The Cubs are off the hook, for the time being.
It was only three games and one rained-out start, but a quick summation is the Sox are worse than advertised and the Cubs are better. Small sample size, I know, but it was that ugly.
"We just got beat in all facets of the game," Paul Konerko said. "That's all you can say. We were just beaten soundly. They were better in every area of the game."
"We're Better Than the White Sox" won't sell many tickets at Wrigley, but it's better than the alternative.
The red-hot Cubs, locked and loaded for 100 losses, won their first Crosstown Cup since the lame promotion began in 2010, when BP was attached as the sponsor.
In three victories, the Cubs' Crosstown Cup runneth over, as they outscored the Sox 24-6. I'm no sabermetrician, but I think a plus-18 run differential is good, right?
While some might be surprised by the Cubs' domination, it fits with the teams' overall run differential. The Cubs (22-30) are now plus-six, while the Sox (24-27) are minus-29.
It's probably also irrelevant the Cubs are the only losing team in baseball with a positive differential. Wins are what count, not run differential. But it does help show the Cubs maybe aren't the joke we thought they were.
So, you can point out that the Sox are only 4 1/2 games back of the Tigers in the AL Central while the Cubs trail St. Louis by 13 in baseball's best division, the NL Central, but it doesn't mean much when it comes to comparisons.
The way they've been hitting and playing defense, Adam Dunn has a better chance of hitting .180 than the Sox do of pulling a 180.
The Sox had a decent two-week stretch coming in, but Konerko said they're not feeling good simply to be in the divisional race going into June.
"When someone brings it up, yes, but I just look at it like we haven't even come close, I think, to clicking on all cylinders for even a week or two," he said. "As far as games ahead or behind, it's really irrelevant."
The Sox starting pitching was supposed to handcuff the Cubs, who had struggled against left-handed starters this season. But Jose Quintana, John Danks and Jake Peavy combined for 14 innings and gave up 13 earned runs. Chris Sale was trailing when his game was postponed by rain. If the pitching tails off, this Sox team will be unwatchable. Or more unwatchable, I suppose.
Peavy gave up a grand slam to Cubs pitcher/slugger Travis Wood in the fourth and six runs overall. He gave up five hits to the bottom third of the Cubs' order.
"You've got to give them credit, but at the same time you got to look at yourself," Peavy said."We've got to bring it. We've got to step up and bring more intensity. That starts with me."
Wood's four RBIs give him the lead among pitchers with seven. He also has two homers. The Cubs' pitchers have 19 RBIs this month, one shy of the major league record by the 1940 Detroit Tigers. That's probably not sustainable, but it's fun while it lasts.
"I don't like it; they're embarrassing all of us," Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo said. "No, it's great. It's unbelievable. They're loose and having fun and keeping everybody else loose."
Rizzo hit his second triple of the series Thursday. He had one in his career previously. He should tip his cap to the awful White Sox defense for those hits.
Break up the Cubs?
Sure, that'll happen when Theo Epstein starts dealing short-term contracts for prospects, but until it does, they're playing half-decent baseball, and that's something to enjoy.
Then again, they just played the White Sox, so it's tough to judge.
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