One difference between the NHL and Major League Baseball?
The NHL could have a Boston vs. Chicago Stanley Cup final and the neutral fans around the country wouldn't feel like taking an emergency two-week vacation to Rome to get away from the insanity. Among the fans of the winning team, there would be no real lasting satisfaction in the wake of a Cubs-Red Sox World Series because after the celebration dies down, then there would be nothing about which to be paranoid and complain. In hockey, Bruins and Blackhawks followers -- even those who overlap with the baseball fanatics -- could celebrate the Stanley Cup with genuine and lasting satisfaction.
Now that the baseball playoffs last nearly as long as the NHL postseason, and a World Series Game 7 could end at 3:21 a.m. (or later if it goes into extra innings) on the verge of Thanksgiving, there is considerable overlap at the front end of the hockey season. Remember when hockey was a winter sport and baseball claimed the summer? Now it seems that the period when the sports don't overlap now is about the length of time it used to take Blackhawks goalie Glenn Hall to paint the barn in the offseason.
A look at each of the dual MLB-NHL markets, where the sports stand and who deserves the most attention:
Terry Frei is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. He is the author of "Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming," available nationwide, and 2004's "Third Down and a War to Go."