Mike Nadel: Sox get sweep; Cubs get All-Chicago nod
One right fielder gets the media attention, the 48 million bucks and the fans chanting his name. The other is the only Chicago ballplayer ever named World Series MVP.
The Cubs' Kosuke Fukudome vs. White Sox standout Jermaine Dye? It's not especially close.
"Someone asked me who I'd pick in right," A.J. Pierzynski said. "I said Dye. They laughed at me, but just look at the numbers. Fukudome's a great player, but I'll take Jermaine Dye any day of the week."
Of course, the Sox catcher would say that. But you know what? Two Cubs (who requested anonymity) echoed those thoughts.
There were many tough choices for my 2008 All-Chicago Team, which celebrates the city's top player at each position at midseason. Right field? Not so much.
Let Cubbieland have Fukudome Fever. There's no common-sense argument to support K-Fu over J.D. Dye has a higher batting average, three times as many home runs and 16 more RBIs. And in the six intracity games, he absolutely wore out Cubs pitching. Fukudome's big advantage: His spin-a-rama strikeouts sure are fun to watch.
Avenging the beating they took at Wrigley Field, the White Sox completed their own sweep with Sunday night's 5-1 victory. Their losing streak at a season-high four games, the Cubs' angst showed. Lou Piniella was ejected for arguing a checked-swing call, and bench coach Alan Trammell got into it with the umps after a close play at first.
"We're frustrated," said Trammell, who was sent by Piniella to address the media. "We're used to winning and we want to get back to our winning ways."
That replays showed umpire Chad Fairchild blew both calls was of little solace to the Cubs. But hey, at least they have more players on the All-Chicago Team - as befitting the team that still sports the majors' best record.
FIRST BASE: Derrek Lee, Cubs.
Paul Konerko has been slumping and hurting. Lee has had a typically outstanding season.
SECOND BASE: Mark DeRosa, Cubs.
He's as close as either team comes to having an everyday second baseman and he's put up nice statistics. Rising quickly for the Sox: Alexei Ramirez, a rookie who could be special.
THIRD BASE: Aramis Ramirez, Cubs.
Historically, Joe Crede delivers huge hits and makes spectacular plays in the biggest games. Still, Ramirez has the better stats this season. And while he went hitless at Sox Park, Ramirez was sensational in the series at Wrigley. Crede only had four hits in the six games.
SHORTSTOP: Ryan Theriot, Cubs.
Orlando Cabrera's the better fielder, but Theriot is ranked among NL batting-average leaders.
LEFT FIELD: Carlos Quentin, White Sox.
If you say you predicted Quentin would have a bigger impact than Alfonso Soriano, I'd ask you to take a lie-detector test. After his customary slow start, Soriano was hitting well before getting struck by a pitch that broke a bone in his left hand. A stud all season, Quentin was lethal against the Cubs.
CENTER FIELD: Jim Edmonds, Cubs.
This bargain-bin pickup gets the nod, almost by default at a position that has vexed both clubs. Nick Swisher has done his best work filling in for Konerko at first. Edmonds, the ex-Cardinal who was cut by the Padres, has had a hot June.
CATCHER: Geovany Soto, Cubs.
One of the smartest players I've covered, Pierzynski is having another solid year. Soto, a rookie, has exceeded expectations in putting up the kind of power numbers few catchers deliver.
DH: Jim Thome, White Sox.
Duh! The NL Cubs don't have a DH. Nevertheless, Thome deserves mention. He hit career homer No. 522 on Sunday, passing Ted Williams and Willie McCovey into 16th place all-time. Though not having his best season, he's on pace for 30 HRs and 80 RBIs.
STARTING PITCHERS: John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Mark Buehrle, White Sox; Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster, Cubs.
No-brainers, one and all.
SET-UP MEN: Scott Linebrink and Matt Thornton, White Sox; Carlos Marmol, Cubs.
These guys do the dirty work about as well as anybody anywhere.
CLOSER: Kerry Wood, Cubs.
This easily could have gone to Bobby Jenks, who is having another great season, but Wood is an incredible success story. Overcoming a shaky start in his new role, he has 20 saves and he's been almost unhittable the last six weeks.
MANAGER: Lou Piniella and Ozzie Guillen (tie).
Both are funny, savvy, intense and likable. And both should travel with translators to help listeners figure out what they're saying.
Half-crazy and half-brilliant, Guillen has inspired his Sox to a level few expected: first place. Piniella, meanwhile, has helped put together perhaps the most dangerous Cubs team in 100 years.
And as Lou demonstrated again Sunday, the 64-year-old grandpa hasn't lost his competitive fire - although it's disappointing he didn't put on a vintage, base-throwing, dirt-kicking show for the sellout crowd and ESPN audience.
Mike Nadel (email@example.com) is the Chicago sports columnist for GateHouse News Service. Read his blog, The Baldest Truth, at www.thebaldesttruth.com.