If A's fans are conflicted on whether to root for the upstart Houston Astros or the resilient Chicago White Sox; take this under consideration:
No offense to the Astros and their fans who have suffered numerous near-misses before finally reaching the World Series after 44 years, but Oakland has a certain kinship with the fans of South Side Chicago.
The White Sox have toiled in the shadow of their more popular yet less prolific neighbors--the Cubs. The Cubs are the lovable losers who haven't won the World Series since 1908, while the White Sox haven't won since 1917 yet the nation never speaks of them and zero books besides the 1919 Black Sox scandal have ever been written about them.
Rundown Wrigley Field is a gem. A rowdy yet dignified crowd that packs the park despite rarely having a sniff at the pennant race even in August of each season. Sox fans typically leave the new Commisky Park, now U.S. Cellular Field barren even when the team is playing well, which over the last 25 years has been more often and consistent than the cross-town Cubbies.
The White Sox are second class citizens in the nation's second largest city. It's hard being a White Sox fan. It's not cool and takes a lot more effort than mumbling "Take me out to the Ballpark" in the 7th inning drunk off Budweiser (Harry Caray's drink of choice).
Does this sound familiar to the loyal followers of the Oakland Athletics?
The Giants tower over the Bay Area baseball scene merely because they were here first. They haven't won a thing since moving to San Francisco from New York and, yes we're counting; 52 years since they beat the Cleveland Indians.
All the while, their cross-bay rivals have carried the World Series trophy through the streets of Oakland four times, including a four game sweep in 1989 where even God was against the Giants. The Loma Prieta earthquake caused a postponement of the series and allowed the A's top two starters--Dave Stewart and Mike Moore--to pitch twice in the four game mauling.
The Giants have the nicer stadium and fill it regularly with corporate hacks armed with the companies season tickets while A's fans make good at the older coliseum and dine on dollar hot dogs and ride public transportation to the game.
The South Side of Chicago is where the genuine working class of the Windy City reside. You have to prove to them that you're for real and they'll hand over their hard earned money and when they do, they're rabid. The underlining hatred towards the Cubs is similar to the rift between A's and Giants fans.
In the Bay Area, the Giants fans reek with jealousy over the inequity in titles and A's fans pull their hair out over the inequity in coverage of their more exciting product.
Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the Sox and former shortstop, loves to exploit the hatred of the Cubs. During an interleague game last year against the Cubs, Guillen trashed the beloved "Friendly Confines", calling it a dump. A USA Today columnist reported today that when Guillen noticed an unfamiliar Chicago reporter in the locker room, he belligerently asked him if he covered the Cubs.
So, when watching this year's World Series remember the White Sox are playing for all of the downtrodden and forgotten fans who languish in the shadows rooting passionately for their teams honestly without snacking on sushi and fawning over morally corrupt sluggers gunning for homerun records. Those Southsiders are our brethren. Let's cheer with them.