Cubs-Cardinals rivalry set to take over 'Sunday Night Baseball'

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor
Big League Stew

With the new year around the corner, that means the new season isn’t too far behind. And once that season begins, get ready for a lot of Chicago Cubs versus St. Louis Cardinals on your television screen (or other preferred viewing device).

Major League Baseball had already announced the longtime rivals would play the last of three season-opening games on Sunday, April 2, at Busch Stadium. Now that ESPN has announced a significant portion of its Sunday night schedule, we’ve learned that Cubs-Cardinals will get the Sunday night spotlight three different times, including June 4 and July 23 in Chicago.

Here’s a look at what’s confirmed.

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Apr. 2: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Apr. 9: Miami Marlins at New York Mets
Apr. 16: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Yankees
Apr. 23: Washington Nationals at New York Mets
Apr. 30: Chicago Cubs at Boston Red Sox
May 7: New York Yankees at Chicago Cubs
May 14: Houston Astros at New York Yankees
May 28: New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates
June 4: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
July 9: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
July 16: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
July 23: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

The Cubs-Cardinals rivalry will be front and center in 2017. (Getty Images)
The Cubs-Cardinals rivalry will be front and center in 2017. (Getty Images)

The Cubs-Cardinals rivalry has always been appealing for television networks. Even when one team or the other is down, the intensity and interest remains. Now that both are good, and it’s actually the Cardinals chasing the World Series champion Cubs, there’s a new dynamic and perhaps a new layer of intensity that’s bound to develop.

Adding to that is the fact that Dexter Fowler, who served as a major contributor to the Cubs championship run, has signed with St. Louis. Last offseason, it was Jason Heyward and John Lackey who left St. Louis for the Cubs, so there are no shortage of storylines to supplement the hard feelings.

Worth noting, of the 12 games made official by ESPN, the Cubs or Cardinals will be part of six. Also worth noting, there’s only one Yankees-Red Sox game on the schedule. At least for now. That’s always subject to change and probably will as there are a lot of open dates to be filled in once the pennant race heats up.

The bottom line, of course, is that the marquee teams and the major rivalries rule the day once again. You can count on seeing a lot of those matchups too on FOX and MLB Network, though the latter generally does a good job distributing its attention to teams that don’t reside among baseball’s upper class.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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