Some Historical Perspective: Fan confidence ratings for both teams continue to hold up quite well, especially compared to last season. But will it last? One could think of the trend lines as the branches of a tree. As one climbs farther and farther out on the spindly branches, the situation becomes progressively more precarious. This season is a very tall tree.
The White Line: Sox fans got another boost over the weekend, taking a series from the Oakland "Moneyball" A's on the strength of the 15th win by Cy Young candidate Esteban Loaiza. The White Sox, who are in the middle of a brutal marathon vs. the AL West (and who historically couldn't win a contest in California even against Gray Davis), look ahead to an equally unforgiving schedule in September. It's a steep climb between here and October: Kansas City is in first by a margin narrower than Aaron Rowan's shoulders, the Twins are tailgating, and the Sox transmission is Manuel.
The Black Line: As usual it's not Cy Young but Carl Jung at the center of north side hope and despair. Deep in the collective unconscious of Cubs fans is the understanding that late season optimism, if it ever exists, is rarely rewarded. Still, other NL contenders know that a rotation of Prior, Wood, and Clement could do real damage in a playoff series. Speaking of the just reactivated Mark Prior, he five-hit the Dodgers Sunday in the most impressive return of a sexy, pinstriped bachelor to Chicago since Cary Grant showed up at the Ambassador Hotel after being attacked by a crop duster in North by Northwest.