The Red Line Series Simply Doesn’t Match its Subway counterpart

David Kalan and David Kalan

If you were in Plex’s west dining hall on Sunday night, you might have seen my girlfriend and me in a fight.

Every relationship has its first real test, one where you question if it’s all really worth it, and we both knew it would happen eventually.

After all, the Subway Series happens twice a year.

I had always made it a rule never to date a Yankees fan, but even the strongest of men compromise their values sometimes. As it stands, I struggle daily with the knowledge that my significant other owes her allegiance to Satan.

Having to face the problem straight on was another matter entirely.

I suppose one can make the argument that your sports allegiance is only as big of a problem as you make it, but people who make that argument clearly don’t like baseball enough.

People like myself, who know the true value of memorizing Endy Chavez’s VORP rating or still cry at night when thinking about the Scott Kazmir trade, understand that these are serious issues in a relationship, on par with what religion to raise your children and whether or not to buy DirecTV just for the NFL Sunday Ticket.

But struggling with it is much more difficult when I can’t face the problem in its usual atmosphere. The greatness and drama of the Subway Series is lost when you’re halfway across the country.

Here at Northwestern, my thirst for excessive coverage for the Big Apple’s bragging rights is left unquenched, and instead newspapers are saturated with pictures of Michael Barrett’s fist making a not so friendly greeting with A.J. Pierzynski’s cheek.

The annual battle between the Cubs and White Sox leaves me a little unsatisfied. In the three years I’ve watched the series, it just hasn’t quite lived up to what I watched in my New Jersey home.

This could be because my favorite team is not involved, but I like to consider myself a man who appreciates all sport, and not just what is contained inside the New York bubble – after all, I stayed up until 3 a.m. in February to watch curling.

But for some reason, I just can’t get involved in the Red Line Series – a moniker that lacks the alliterative prowess of the Subway Series – unless a boxing match breaks out on the field.

Fortunately, Barrett’s right cross and Carlos Zambrano displaying to the world why he needs anger management counseling gave me something to watch when MLB.TV blacked out the Mets and Yankees as the result of it being a “national broadcast.” And while this has generated some excitement, it was nothing like watching the two years of fallout when Roger Clemens dealt Mike Piazza a little forehead music in 2000.

Did anyone throw broken bat shards during the all-Chicago World Series of 1906?

Hardly. The friendliness and good sportsmanship is almost too much to bear.

The lack of tumult just seems to remind me of a general sense of malaise and mediocrity that creeps into Chicago sports.

If we disregard those Bulls championships in the 1990s, and frankly having Michael Jordan should make them an outlier anyway, we are left with a city that has two NFL championships in the past 60 years, two baseball teams that have combined for two titles in the last 98 seasons and the longest Stanley Cup drought in hockey at 45 years and counting – and for many more in all likelihood.

This isn’t a case of financial disparity either. Chicago is a metropolis on par with any in the world, and if the Cubs have the financial resources of the Tribune Company behind them, they should be able to slay a Billy Goat or two.

But perhaps mismanagement and a distaste for horned mammals aren’t the only things to blame for the dearth of rings. Maybe it’s simply the acceptance of a team’s failings instead of demanding excellence.

Many Cubs fans defend Barrett’s fisticuffs simply because they think the Cubbies can do no wrong. All franchises can make mistakes, and believe me when I say, this one certainly can.

I’m afraid there is such a lack of intensity over the Cubs-Sox series that I actually have trouble seeing two rational committed adults reconsidering the importance of their relationship over it.

And that’s just sad.

As far as the Subway Series is concerned, my lady and I both understood going in that those three games at Shea would forever determine which one of us was the better person for all time.

And after David Wright sexily drove in the winning run on both Friday and Sunday, it was clear that the better person was me.

Our issues won’t be entirely resolved until July 2. Although if you want to be really optimistic – or perhaps pessimistic – our problem might not be solved until October. Of course, that’s something all Chicagoans haven’t been able to say for 100 years.

But then again, they probably don’t have the same kinds of problems.

Deputy sports editor David Kalan is a Weinberg junior. He can be reached at [email protected]