On Sunday, the Chicago Cubs lost to the Phillies in Philadelphia. It was a hard loss, because there was a chance to keep pace with the Cardinals and the Pirates, who the Cubs are chasing with three weeks left in the regular season. Playoff positioning hasn’t been an issue for many years – and not at all in the two wild-cards-per-league era, so it’s good to be playing meaningful baseball, at least.
Also on Sunday, the Bears lost to the Packers in Chicago. It was a day that football fans had long been waiting for, and the sunshine and warm weather served to belie the cold and snowy conditions that will appear as the season progresses. They don’t call it “Bears Weather” for nothing, after all. Matt Forte had a good game running the ball, but Jay Cutler, well, what is there to say about him?
On Monday, the Cubs don’t play. The Bears don’t play, either.
On Tuesday, the Cubs play a doubleheader in Pittsburgh, which could never, ever happen in football. Two games, back to back, in the same day. And the games will be thick with playoff implications, since the Cubs can either close their deficit to the Pirates in the wild-card race, or the Pirates can shorten up the season with a split of the two games, or widen their lead with a sweep. The stakes are high, and 18 innings (or more) will be played, weather permitting.
On Tuesday, the Bears don’t play.
On Wednesday, the Cubs play another game against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. More drama, more playoff implications, more of what makes September such an exciting time of the year. A prelude to October, if you want to think in those terms.
On Wednesday, the Bears don’t play.
On Thursday, the Cubs play one more game in Pittsburgh. It will be possibly a sweep game for one team or the other, or perhaps a split game, or maybe one team will be trying for three out of 4, which would move the wild-card standings one way or the other, with another series between the two teams still to play in Chicago.
On Thursday, the Bears don’t play.
On Friday, the Cubs play a day game against St. Louis at Wrigley Field. The Cardinals have led the National League Central Division all season long, and the Cubs are running out of time to catch them and claim the division title for themselves. The Cubs nearly swept the Cardinals last week, but had a late-inning meltdown that allowed the Cardinals to steal the third game. The Cardinals have to win to preserve their lead and ensure home-field advantage through the National League playoffs, and the Cubs want to win all the games they can, but paying back the Cardinals for some of the late-inning collapses earlier in the season would be particularly sweet. Cubs and Cardinals games are always an event – whether in Chicago or in St. Louis – but this one will literally be a playoff atmosphere.
On Friday, the Bears don’t play.
On Saturday, the Cubs and the Cardinals will play another day game at Wrigley Field. This will be the FOX game of the week, without question. An old rivalry renewed yet again, against the quintessential baseball backdrop of baseball’s cathedral on Chicago’s North Side. There will be college football, too, but if you enjoy baseball as a fan, it doesn’t get any better during the regular season.
On Saturday, the Bears don’t play.
On Sunday, the Cubs play another day game against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Brooms on one side or the other (hopefully on the Cubs’s side of the ledger) will be out, but only in theory because Wrigley Field specifically prohibits brooms from being brought in to the park. But a sweep would help to settle the division race, one way or the other. Will the two teams meet in the playoffs? I, for one, sure hope that they will. MLB’s broadcast rights-holders feel that way, too.
On Sunday, the Bears play a home game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Given everything written above, I have to ask the question:
Why would anyone ever prefer football over baseball?