OCT. 30 HOME STRETCH COLUMN — PETE TEMPLE, SPORTS EDITOR
A while back, a friend quizzed me on the only two days of the entire calendar year in which there are no professional sports scheduled.
I knew that the NBA always schedules games on Christmas Day, so that wasn’t one of them. And Thanksgiving NFL games have been a tradition longer than I’ve been alive.
So the first one that came to mind was Christmas Eve. It turns out I was correct on that one, at least for this year. But that wasn’t one of the two he had in mind.
His answer: “The day before the baseball All-Star Game, and the day after.”
It’s the kind of thing you don’t think about. But it’s true; baseball is the only one of the “big four” pro sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) that is going on when the All-Star Game commences. And since baseball takes the day before and day after off, those two days have no pro sports going on.
This coming Thursday, Oct. 31, offers the opposite situation. Maybe.
As I write this, the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are tied 2-2 in the World Series. That guarantees that there will be at least a Game Six, and if you’re reading this on the day the paper arrived in your mailbox, that game is tonight.
I’m hoping it goes to a Game Seven, for a weird reason. Because if a baseball game is played on Halloween night, it will mean that all four sports will be in action, in games that count, on the same day.
As you know if you follow the NFL (and Lord knows, this year I’ve tried NOT to follow it), there is a game every Thursday night. This week’s offering is Bengals at Dolphins.
Also, the NBA has two games scheduled that night, including an appealing matchup between the Knicks and the Bulls in Chicago. The NHL has obliged as well, slating three hockey games Oct. 31.
All four in action. On the same night. Can you remember when that has happened before?
There are plenty of times when three of the four have been playing at once. It’s actually been that way for several days in October, since the NHL first dropped the puck earlier this month. The NBA has been in action too, but only in exhibition games.
There is also the month of January, and in early February, when the NFL is in its post-season and battles for the NBA and NHL playoff positions are in full swing.
But then the NFL ends with the Super Bowl, and even though MLB’s pitchers and catcher report to spring training just a few weeks later, it will still be more than a month before they play games that count.
So here’s to a Game Seven in the World Series, if only for that weird opportunity – for one night only – to get glimpses of all four sports in action at once.