CHICAGO — Call it a “good problem to have.”
Chicago sports fans could face an interesting — yet exciting — dilemma this fall: The Chicago Blackhawks open their season Oct. 7 at the United Center, when they are expected to raise their 2014-15 Stanley Cup championship banner in what is sure to be an uproarious pregame ceremony. However a team not too far away could be inciting some raucous cheers as well; MLB recently announced its postseason schedule, in which the National League wild card game also falls on Oct. 7.
The Cubs currently sit eight games behind the league-best St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Central Division. But the North Siders are poised to face off in the wild card game, as they currently hold a three-game lead over the defending champion San Francisco Giants for the second wild card spot. (MLB added a second wild card team in 2012, a rule change in which two teams now face off in a one-game payoff for the right to go to the division series.)
Pittsburgh currently holds a three-game lead over the Cubs for the first wild card spot. But should the Cubs overtake the Pirates between now and season’s end, they would be hosting the one-game playoff at Wrigley Field. A time for the Oct. 7 game has not yet been determined by MLB, but it’s worth noting last year’s wild card battle between the Giants and Pirates began at 7 p.m. central.
The Blackhawks’ opener is schedule for the same time.
So should the two coincide, diehard Chicago sports fans at home may have a lot of channel-changing in their future. And those going to the games will have to decide between tickets to the first Cubs playoff game since 2008 or seeing the Hawks raise the banner and take on a fellow Original Six team in the New York Rangers.