It was just a meaningless exhibition game, wasn’t it? Yet something about White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez’s first-inning grand slam against Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish a few days ago at Guaranteed Rate Field felt bigger than that.
To some, it might even have signified a shift of baseball power in this city from North Side to South Side. When you add Jimenez’s exciting rise, Darvish’s ongoing struggles and fellow Cubs pitcher Jose Quintana’s ridiculous dishwashing injury, it certainly plays into a couple of early-season storylines:
One, the Sox, with Jimenez — the jewel of their 2017 trade of Quintana — and so many more young, talented, enticing pieces, are ready to win.
Two, the Cubs, four years removed from their World Series triumph — and in their first season without manager Joe Maddon — are trying to hang on to their magic of the last half-decade.
‘‘Polling Place’’ — your weekly home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter — asked which team will be better in 2020, and the voting wasn’t close.
‘‘Cubs, of course!’’ commented @IVYandICE2, who surely would have had the majority on her side heading into 2019, let alone in seasons before that.
But, no, not this time. Not even close. ‘‘People love prospects and youth,’’ @PitRomney wrote. ‘‘The Cubs core is still one of the most talented in baseball. The pitching staff will decide whether this team is elite or slightly above average.’’
What ‘‘elite’’ means in a 60-game regular season, we’ll see. But it’s the Sox who have all the mojo in the world heading in. They have loads of talent, an undeniable freshness surrounding them and, for what it’s worth, two-thirds of the vote over the Cubs.
On to the polls:
Yu Darvish Eloy Jimenez Dallas Keuchel