Daily Herald
Nothing to gush over: Cubs, Sox both spewing oil
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 6/11/2010 3:03 PM | Updated: 6/11/2010 6:49 PM

There seemed to be as much Blackhawks red as there was Cubs blue or White Sox black in the stands at Wrigley Field for the opener of the so-called Crosstown Cup series.

Fans even cheered during the national anthem, giving the place a little United Center atmosphere.

And if there was another thing that brought Cubs and White Sox fans together, it's that the Crosstown Cup got a hearty round of boos when it was brought out and placed behind home plate.

There's only one Cup that matters in Chicago right now, and that's the Stanley Cup.

All the attention on the Hawks has been great for the team and great for the city and suburbs. But now that the formal celebration is over, all eyes turn to baseball, and that's not necessarily a good thing for either the Cubs or White Sox.

The joke in the Miller Park press box in Milwaukee the other night was whether hockey season or baseball season ended first in Chicago.

Both the Cubs and the Sox are messes right now.

The Sox won 10-5 Friday, giving them a record of 27-33 while the Cubs fell to 27-34, tying their low-water mark for the season.

Once the public and media turn all of their attention to baseball - and they'll have a short window before the Bears open training camp - they'll see a pair of underachieving teams and dysfunctional families.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had to address questions on whether he and general manager Kenny Williams had come close to fist fighting as tensions between the two reportedly mounted.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella spent much of Friday's pregame session scolding his critics, including Sox TV analyst Steve Stone, whom Piniella called out by name.

Piniella also was asked to respond to Thursday's postgame remarks by catcher Koyie Hill, who questioned his own team's fundamentals and readiness.

I asked Piniella if he felt more scrutiny was coming for both Chicago baseball teams now that the Hawks are done.

"I don't know," he said. "Let me tell you this. Scrutiny? Everybody's trying to do their best. That's all you can do."

Oh, it's coming, and it's not going to be kind to either team, and nor should it be. These are a couple of sleepwalking giants in the biggest market by far in each of their divisions.

Never mind what we in the media say or what the public says. What about the bosses of Guillen, Williams, Piniella and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry?

Jobs could be on the line here.

Can Ozzie and Kenny coexist or does one or both need to go before somebody gets hurt? Can Piniella get the Cubs' ship turned around and has Hendry built a white elephant of a roster?

All of these men have been in their jobs for a long time, and the questions are legit. In July, Hendry will have been the Cubs' GM for eight years, and the Cubs have three postseason appearances and no World Series to show for it. They've actually backslid since their back-to-back division titles in 2007-08.

White Sox fans are starting to view the 2005 World Series title Williams and Guillen brought them as ancient history. Ancient history and World Series titles? Cubs fans know all about that, as they have slightly more history from which to draw.

To answer the original question, it looks like baseball season ended before hockey season this year.

But at least the Cubs and Sox have their own cup.