- Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is happy the Chicago Cubs don’t have more night games yet. Konerko has tickets for the Chicago Blackhawks' Game 7 showdown against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night. It’s a day of the week which normally would find the Sox playing at night, but Wednesday’s contest starts at 1:20 p.m. at Wrigley Field.
“I came across some tickets from a friend of mine and my first thought was I couldn’t go because I never think of a weekday game being a day game so then it hit me that we have a day game,” Konerko said before the Sox played the Cubs Tuesday night. “Lucky me, I get to go to the game. Hopefully we don’t do anything stupid like have an extra-inning game or any rain delays. Let’s keep our fingers crossed there.”
Many Sox and Cubs players were scrambling for tickets after watching the third period of Game 6 in their respective clubhouses after the Cubs' 7-0 win on Monday night.
“I came in off the field and it was 2-1 (Wings),” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “I came back from my media thing and it was 3-2 (Hawks) and then they obviously got a nice little questionable penalty shot there.”
Sveum plans to attend the game as well.
“There’s not too many times Game 7s come around,” Sveum said. “Especially being in town at the same time and playing a day game, you have to do everything you can to make that game.”
Unlike Konerko’s long history of being a hockey fan, Cubs pitcher Matt Garza is new to the sport. He’s been to a few games and is hopeful to be in attendance on Wednesday as well.
“It’s something new,” he said. “I had never been into it being from California. Hockey is a big thing here. It’s kind of grown on me.”
Garza is one of the few people to experience a Game 7 on the field. He pitched the Tampa Bay Rays to a victory over the Boston Red Sox in the 2008 American League Championship Series, throwing seven innings of one-run ball.
“It’s intense,” Garza said. “It’s kind of the moment you live for. It’s crunch time. It’s 'Who wants it more?' I’m sure it’s same type of intensity. Every pitch counts. You think every stick-handle and every turnover counts.”
Konerko added: “I know everyone is pulling for them in this city. You get the feeling if they can get through that one you like their chances the rest of the way.”
Konerko played hockey until he was about 15, starting out as a center and then moving to wing.
“(I) still get out and skate when I can,” Konerko said. “The team doesn’t know that, every now and again I get out there.”
Players who said they plan on attending the game said they were looking forward to the atmosphere at the United Center. Outdoor baseball at Wrigley or U.S. Cellular Field simply can’t replicate the sound inside the United Center in big games.
“There are some baseball stadiums during the playoffs that get pretty loud,” Konerko said. “But nothing is better than Game 7s in hockey.”
And what happens if the baseball game runs long or there’s rain?
“They’ll hold the game up for us,” Sveum joked.
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