06/29/08 8:36 PM EST
Reinsdorf: Division games the key
Sox chairman says Cubs series not the most important
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
That question seems to have received a great deal of thought and attention during the second straight weekend of competition between Chicago's intracity baseball rivals.
If White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf had his choice, there wouldn't be any games played against the National League at all by his team, let alone against the Cubs, until the postseason. But Reinsdorf also understands that's a battle he's not going to win, and actually one he's willing to lose for the good of the fans.
"I think [Interleague Play] takes away from the World Series, but the fans want it, so I gave up that fight a long time ago," Reinsdorf said. "The interesting thing about this [Cubs] series is that, while it's going on, there's so much excitement, so much hype.
"But at the end of the year, when you look at 162 games, the games in your division are far more important. These are just games. They don't mean anything. The games against Detroit and Cleveland or Minnesota, those are the wins that can turn out to be important.
"The fans want it, and if the fans want it, they are entitled to it," Reinsdorf added. "We have to give the fans what they want. That's what it's all about. They like the excitement of it and it is exciting."
This crosstown rivalry really changed in 2003, when the Cubs came within five outs of reaching the World Series, and then the six-games rivalry truly lost a bit of their ultimate meaning when the White Sox won the 2005 championship. As Reinsdorf pointed out, there was a time when these series were all Chicago fans had to brag or talk about.
Now, both teams have their sights set on winning their respective division crowns before pushing toward the Fall Classic. Reinsdorf didn't want to address the possibility of an all-Chicago World Series, but did offer up his opinion as to whether White Sox fans could or would support a Cubs title if it didn't come at the expense of the South Siders.
"I would hope so," said Reinsdorf, who added how he would root for the Yankees to win it all growing up when his beloved Dodgers were not in the World Series. "You know, there are an awful lot of people who root for both teams. I could see that when we won. I remember we took the team to a Bulls game and they were introduced at halftime. Every single person in that building stood up and cheered, and I know that half of those people were Cubs fans.
"So, it would be nice if everyone rooted for both teams," Reinsdorf added.
When told that possibility probably didn't exist, Reinsdorf smiled and said he understood.
"I've asked a lot of White Sox fans, 'If given the choice of both teams in the playoffs or neither team being in the playoffs, what would you pick?'" Reinsdorf said. "The answer is usually neither because, 'I can't take the chance the Cubs might win.' And these [answers] are from some fairly intelligent people."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.