Sammy Sosa's Playhouse

The Trade

Written by Paul Hauss- July 17, 2017

Baseball teams tend not to trade star players to rival teams. After all, if you're rivals, you probably play each other quite frequently (up to 19 times if you're in the same division), so you don't want to send over a great player who's just going to own your ass all the time. And when teams do end up trading with rivals, they'll impose a so-called "division tax" where the division rival will have to trade more valuable assets than other teams. This is relevant because outsiders may be confused about the lack of trades between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox in the two decades between Sosa-for-Bell and this week's Quintana trade.

The Cubs and the White Sox share a city, but they're not even in the same league. They never played each other until Bud Selig pulled interleague out of his ass in 1997 for the express purpose of taunting the Minnesota Twins he so desperately wanted to move to benefit his proxy team, the Milwaukee Brewers, and even with interleague play, the Cubs and Sox only play each other for 4 to 6 games a year. That's hardly a rivalry that affects on-field performance. Well, the Cubs-Sox rivalry really doesn't have much to do with the actual baseball players, feud between Michael Barrett and fellow pink fedora aficionado AJ Pierzynski notwithstanding, but it has more to do with the fans.

The Cubs and White Sox have both sucked for the majority of their modern histories, but even with shitty performance on both ends, it was the Cubs who got the national media attention. Both teams had both Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray broadcast them at different points, but which team has immortalized "Hey Hey" and "Holy Cow" into their lore? The Cubs. Both teams suffered long championship droughts exceeding 85 years, but whose drought got the sympathy of all sports fans? The Cubs, to the point that few people outside of Chicago gave a shit when the Sox broke their drought in 2005. Ferris Bueller spent his day off at Wrigley Field, not Comiskey Park. Hell, Wrigley Field was featured prominently in the opening credits of every single Perfect Strangers episode, endearing the Cubs legacy as baseball's ambassador to the entire country of Mypos! While Balki Bartokomous saw the Friendly Confines' ivy covered brick walls and scoreboard operated by slave labor as quintessential Americana representing his desire to chase his dreams, the White Sox were left to seeking pop culture relevancy by putting short shorts on muscular men with mullets, performing arson on disco records, and pretending Michael Jordan could play baseball. It's easy to say the White Sox have a little brother complex, but the media's ignorance towards them makes it hard to say there isn't justification behind that complex. Hell, ESPN even redacted the fact that the Sox won the world series in 2005 such that the Cubs' 2016 victory would seem even more impressive. However, not all media outlets have ignored the White Sox.

South Siders received a pleasant surprise when Sony revealed that the cover of this year's edition of MLB: The Show contained a couple of White Sox legends as on the cover of their premiere video game. There was not much objection to the inclusion of Ken Griffey Jr. on the cover; after all, MLB: The Show 17 boasted a so-called Retro Mode which served tribute to 16-bit arcade baseball games of which Junior was a star of on Nintendo systems, but many people were confused as to why Junior was featured wearing a White Sox cap. Ken Griffey Jr. only played half a season on the South Side in 2008 when he was 38, continuing a storied White Sox tradition of employing washed up superstars of yore. Junior was the face of Major League Baseball and its video game circuit in most of the 1990s, and that historic run of dominance came in a Seattle Mariners uniform. Everyone remembers how incredible Junior was with the M's, so it's understandable why so many people would be thrown off seeing The Kid as he exists in their fond memories be actively replaced with a version of The Kid who was actually a middle aged man with a prominent beer belly.

What's less understandable is that few people seemed not to notice the inclusion of White Sox legend Sammy Sosa along side Ken Griffey Jr. on the game's cover. Obviously the Playhouse has a very keen Dominican Detection System, but you'd think someone would notice Sammy's massive face in the background. Especially since so many people took issue with Griffey not appearing in his iconic Mariners cap, one would expect that those same people would be thrown off seeing Slammin' Sammy in a uniform other that of the Cubs with whom he hit 545 of his 609 career home runs. Rest assured, Sony, we noticed Sammy on the cover of MLB: The Show, and The Playhouse is proud to speak for all White Sox fans in thanking you for finally giving the Sox some major media attention in the form of including White Sox legends Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr on your wonderful game. And With Sony reminding everyone of Sammy and Junior's wonderful tenures on the South Side, we don't see how Jerry Reinsdorf can withhold retiring Sammy's iconic #25 and Junior's historic #17 for any longer. #MakeItHappenJerry