In Houston, Texas, something that has never happened before has— a world series pep rally for the hometown Astros, a team that has never won anything.
About 1,200 miles north in Chicago, the White Sox hope to finally shake the shadow of their cross town rivals, the Cubs.
Major league baseball’s ugly stepsisters finally have a chance to dance.
‘Salami under glass’
After 44 years in the Majors, Houston finally has a ticket to the ball.
It’s the longest wait so far for any new franchise. They’re a team that back in the ‘80s could be accused of crimes against fashion. Even worse, they played in what was billed as the 8th wonder of the world: the baseball-unfriendly Astrodome.
“Putting that team in that stadium was like serving salami under glass,” says the Houston Chronicle sportswriter Mickey Herskowitz.
Windy City stereotypes
The Astros are headed here to Chicago’s South Side, where the long-ignored White Sox haven’t won the World Series since 1917.
Worse, in 1919, several players— the “Black Sox” they were called —were banned from baseball throwing the series for cash!
And there’s an age-old resentment in the neighborhoods that used to house stockyards and factories, that the North Side Cubs get all the attention.
“On the South Side, people worked in factories. But on the North Side, that’s where the factory owners lived,” says White Sox historian Rich Lindberg.
Are the South Side Sox fans really that lunchpail, and North Side Cubs fans highfalutin? A recent survey sets the Windy city sterotype on its ear. The survey found the rivals aren’t that different at all, earning similar incomes, an average of just under $80,000 each, with 45 percent of Sox fans and 46 percent of Cubs fans holding white-collar jobs. And they both have an even 23 percent each working blue-collar.
Still, no one denies the Cubs have more fans and get more attention. And old grudges die hard. For now, though, all White Sox animosity is focused south— way south… towards Texas.