clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

When Cubs And Red Sox Worlds Collide

This weekend my favorite team plays my AL team

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend I have a baseball conflict for the first time since July 2, 2014, because the Cubs are going to play my American League team: the Boston Red Sox.

Before you get all upset that I also like the Red Sox consider that I lived there for six years and also consider the fact that for a very long time the only fans in the universe who really understood what it was like to be a Cubs’ fan were long-time Red Sox fans. In fact, I will never forget riding the T (Boston’s version of the L) into the first Cubs v. Red Sox game in over 100 years wearing my Geovany Soto jersey. I was a little unsure what to expect, but as I got off at the Kenmore stop on the Green Line (their version of the Addison stop on the Red Line) a twentysomething guy with a thick Boston accent and a Red Sox hat tapped me on the shoulder and said, “We really hope you’re next.”

This has, sadly, almost never been a conflict. This weekend will mark one of the only years that both the Cubs and the Red Sox are competitive and playing each other in my lifetime. I’ll end the suspense, I’m obviously cheering for the Cubs, but there is nowhere I’d rather be this weekend than at Fenway Park and since I won’t be making it out to Boston this weekend I wanted to take a minute to reflect on some things to keep an eye on as you watch this historic series.

There are no other venues left in Major League Baseball like Fenway and Wrigley Field. They stand alone. Two parks in the middle of city neighborhoods that have grown up around them and taken on their character. They have nooks and crannies, idiosyncracies like bricks and ivy and green monstahs, and fans love their parks as much as they love their teams. Both Wrigley and Fenway have elements of their parks that are historic monuments which will preserve these two century-old ballparks far into the future.

Just like we’d riot in Wrigleyville if the Cubs ever moved, Bostonians would take to the street if anything ever happened to Fenway.

Both parks still use hand-operated scoreboards. The Cubs have their one-of-a-kind centerfield board and the Red Sox have their board in left field, under the green monstah.

Both parks have their chants. While we get bored in the middle innings at Wrigley and begin a back and forth between right field and left field (RIGHT FIELD SUCKS!), at Fenway you will hear chants of “YANKEES SUCK” whether they are playing the Yankees or not. Basically, the only cue Red Sox fans need is any indication that the Yankees have lost or are losing, or winning. Basically, mention the Yankees.

Both fanbases have songs. Cubs fans sing the seventh-inning stretch and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” like no other fans in existence. Yes, I know it happens in other places, including Fenway. No, it’s not the same, and you know it. Red Sox fans have their eighth-inning song “Sweet Caroline” and it’s just as brilliant as every Harry Caray on the scoreboard rendition of TMOTTBG.

And then each team has a victory song. When the Cubs win at home we sing “Go Cubs Go.” When the Red Sox win at home they sing “Dirty Water.” Frankly, the feel of both songs is the same — 90 percent of the fans stay, sing and expect that this will happen.

An aside: one of my favorite baseball memories was singing “Go Cubs Go” with about a thousand other Cubs fans at Fenway on May 21, 2011. I hope a few Cubs fans get to relive that moment this year.

All baseball is excellent, but this weekend we get a treat that, at least for now, has only been an every-three-years extravaganza: The Cubs meeting the Red Sox. Two historic teams. Two incredibly talented teams. Two sets of traditions. Two historic fields.

Which American League team is your favorite and how do you feel when the Cubs play them? What are your best memories of that park?

As for me, this weekend I’ll obviously be cheering for the Cubs, but I’ll always love that dirty water.