The Crosstown Classic is a thing again. The White Sox and their team of rising young stars took the first game 3-1 on a 9th inning 2-run home run by former Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer can claim all they want that they stand by that 2017 trade for Jose Quintana, but there ain’t a soul on the North Side who wouldn’t undo that trade if blue Will Smith offered them 3 wishes. This kid, man oh man. He is SPECIAL. He clobbered the pitch, breaking his bat in the process(Yes, he hit it halfway up the bleachers with a broken bat) off Pedro Strop – one of the more accomplished relievers in Cubs history. Big moment, big results. Rick Hahn went to bed with a big smile on his face last night, no doubt. Not only did he rob the Cubs of Eloy in the Q deal, he also got a potential future ace in Dylan Cease. Can’t fault Cubs management for going for it in 2017. Back then they were the defending champs and a repeat was on everyone’s mind. Quintana was a former All-Star with a reasonable contract. The Ricketts’ cheapness made that contract more of an asset – so they pulled the trigger. Smart on Hahn to get that kind of return on a guy who’s a 2 or 3 in any rotation. Not a lockdown ace. He can be fabulous at times and keep you in a lot of games, but this wasn’t like the Red Sox getting Chris Sale. Hell, Hahn got a better return on Q, it appears. Moncada is a nice player, but Eloy looks like a future MVP. Michael Kopech, who also came over from Boston, is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. As a Cubs fan, watching that home run sail over the left field wall last night – I realized the ramifications of that trade would be felt over the next 15 years of this 22 year old phenom’s career. Perhaps it’s how Sox fans felt watching Sammy Sosa turn into an MVP after switching sides of town in the George Bell trade. George Bell was a good player, but his best days were in Toronto and didn’t have much left for either side of Chicago. Larry Himes won that trade for the Cubs. Jose Quintana is a good pitcher and will win some games. But unless Q steps up big time and leads the Cubs to a championship in 2019 or 2020 – Rick Hahn dominated this trade. What a stage for Eloy to prove that early on – hitting a game-winner against the Cubs, who traded him away. Gosh. Watching him evolve will be a long, sometimes painful journey. I want him to be a superstar. But I also want him to not beat the Cubs during the Crosstown. He really seems like a terrific kid, too. His postgame interview featured him holding the broken bat he used, all taped together – so he can keep it as a memento.
The White Sox are the real deal. The Cubs are contenders right now, but the Sox are coming. When both team are good, that’s when the rivalry gets heated. That’s when Barrett punches A.J. Oooh, that’s also what we need. A villain like Pierzynski. And Barrett, for you Sox fans. This Sox team is far too likable. Maybe I’ll despise Kopech someday, he seems like one of those guys, maybe. Giolito goes tonight for the South Siders. Would hate to get swept, so let’s hope Javy and crew break out of this mini-slump and walk away with a split.