It’s going to be nice having another Chicago team in the national spotlight as often as possible. The Blackhawks have been there for awhile now, appearing on NBC Sports seemingly every week and playing in an outdoor game every year. Now the Cubs, after winning their first World Series in 100 billion years, will be joining the party.
The North Siders are scheduled to appear on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball five times this season, the most of any team in the MLB. That number will likely go up as the season progresses, as the schedule has only been made up to July 23rd. They will open the season with one of those five games at Busch Stadium against the Cardinals on April 2nd. In fact, three of the five national games are against the Cardinals with the other two coming in June and July. They will also go to Boston at the end of April and host the Yankees in early may.
So it’s clear the MLB wants to beat the hell out of the Cardinals v. Cubs rivalry. Understandable, considering the game is pretty much fresh out of true rivalries right now. The Yankees v. Red Sox rivalry has turned into some sort of mutual respect circle-jerk and Dodgers v. Giants games are on at like midnight. It’s hard to squeeze rivalry juice out of a sport that doesn’t involve contact and is trying to do away with any remnants of physicality. St. Louis v. Chicago will always be there, though. Blues v. Blackhawks is very real, and the city versus city aspect is starting to transcend sports.