Cubs-White Sox heat has rivaled that of Great Chicago Fire

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist
They will meet again in Wrigley Field beginning on Friday. And might what's on deck be the quietest Cubs-White Sox duel of all?

Most of the zaniest of the cast of characters from recent years -- colorful baseball versions of Al Capone, Roger Ebert, Rod Blagojevich and Mrs. O'Leary's cow -- have shuffled out of town.

Ozzie Guillen and Carlos Zambrano are together in Miami. Lou Piniella presumably has his toes in the sands of Clearwater Beach, Fla., in retirement. Milton Bradley (thankfully) hasn't been heard from in a long time.

But take note anyway.

"Something crazy always happens in this series," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said Thursday.

Pierzynski knows, first hand. It was in a game at U.S. Cellular Field in 2006 that then-Cubs catcher Michael Barrett punched Pierzynski, sparking a bench-clearing brawl that led to four ejections.

This is the series in which Zambrano engaged teammate Derrek Lee in a fight right in the Cubs dugout at U.S. Cellular Field. And in which Bradley so enraged Piniella that the manager chased him down the tunnel leading to the Cubs' clubhouse and called Bradley a "piece of s---", also at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I think sometimes people put a lot of focus on this series because the city enjoys it so much," Pierzynski says. "It's always fun to go to Wrigley Field.

"These games are the reason Interleague play was invented. Series' like this, Mets-Yankees, Giants-A's. They're definitely more than regular-season games because of the way the city reacts. It's definitely fun. And it's definitely good for baseball."

Without question, it's definitely been good for high blood pressure and family feuding in Chicago. More crazy stuff seems to happen in games between these two clubs than in any other Interleague series. And Chicago baseball fans can't get enough.

"It's life or death to these people," White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy says. "They truly hate each other."

Likes: About time the Padres released second baseman Orlando Hudson, who offered nothing to a team in rebuild mode. And I expect shortstop Jason Bartlett, disabled Thursday, will soon follow Hudson out the door. ... That Will Rhymes thing was awfully scary in Tampa Bay on Wednesday night. So glad he appears to be all right. ... I liked the storyline much better when it went that Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg was bothered during this week's loss to the Padres because he had accidentally gotten some Icy Hot on his onions before the game. ... Solid season finale of Hawaii Five-O this week. ... Finally caught up with Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar with Leonardo DiCaprio the other night. Didn't love it, but thought it was a little better than advertised. ... Love Steve Azar's latest, Delta Soul. ... Also Alabama Shakes' Boys & Girls. ... And Bonnie Raitt's Slipstream. Highly recommend all three of these.

Dislikes: A big blow when legendary bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn passed away earlier this week. His work on the old Stax records gems, not to mention in the Blues Brothers band, was criminally underrated. ... Way too many deaths lately. Farewell to disco queen Donna Summer, too. I was never too deep into disco, but her voice was incredible. And how can you not like -- or, at least, appreciate -- Last Dance, Hot Stuff, MacArthur Park and Dim All the Lights? Man, I don't know how many high school dances and proms ended with Last Dance. I know I was at several.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I'm gonna wait til the stars come out
"And see that twinkle in your eyes"

-- Wilson Pickett, In the Midnight Hour

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