There’s that whole 100-plus-year curse going on (complete with a literal goat!), and there’s the recurring 100-loss seasons. Things looked a little better in Chi-town when former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein took the reins last year, but so far the “rebuilding” has been of the more depressing variety. (Fun fact: The Cubs were called the Orphans up until 1902. Fitting, no?)
So it only hurts that much more that the crosstown Chicago White Sox — who not only won a World Series in the last decade but bounced back from a very short rebuilding time of their own to almost make the playoffs last year — are taking over the local youth baseball scene.
The White Sox are sponsoring young ballplayers all over the city, but with one caveat: Teams have to have some variation of “White Sox” in their name, according to the Chicago Tribune. The youth teams are giving up their various MLB monikers and will now be White Sox Yellow, White Sox Red or something else that is decidedly less creative.
The local teams are, unsurprisingly, not pleased with the development. Most of them like the unique names their teams have had for years and the solidarity it gives their communities.
But other people are upset that the White Sox are basically staging a coup for the hearts and minds of young Chicago baseball fans — and wiping out any trace of the Cubs on the youth baseball jerseys.
The youth league leaders insist that the move was done in good sense, as the financial benefits far outweigh the nostalgic loss of ditching the old team names.
“I don’t really care if it was the White Sox that approached us or the Cubs, or even if the Colorado Rockies had approached us,” said Bill Sullivan, president of the Oak Park youth league. “It would’ve been irresponsible of us as a league not to accept this offer.”
Now, there’s an idea — maybe the Yankees or Dodgers could start investing all their excess cash in buying up youth leagues and insisting their names be on the jerseys. Something just doesn’t seem right about that, especially since the White Sox are acknowledging that they’re hoping the entire Chicago juvenile population will start to associate baseball first and foremost with their team.
Poor Cubs — just one more bad turn for the team named after baby bears.