Even those faithful Chicago Cubs fans needed to go channel surfing Thursday night.

Good thing there were plenty of options.

As Kiké Hernandez and the Los Angeles Dodgers jumped on top early and ended the Cubs’ season well before the final out was recorded in the National League Championship Series, a rare "Sports Equinox" was occurring.

All four major U.S. professional leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB — had games on the same day. It was only the 17th time that has happened. With the NBA moving up its season a week-and-a-half this year, this was the earliest "Sports Equinox" since 1980.

Usually the best sports viewing day of the year is the Monday when the NCAA basketball championship game coincides with the beginning of baseball season.

This year, it was Oct. 19.

The Dodgers-Cubs game, at least early, was the main attraction. But after Los Angeles went ahead 9-1 in the third inning, there was no need to focus on every pitch from Wrigley Field.

The Cubs’ reign as champions was over.

Time to put the remote in overdrive.

Luckily, the NFL put out one of its best Thursday night games of the season on CBS. The Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders went back and forth all night before the Raiders pulled out a win on the game’s last play.

There also was a good NHL game featuring the Chicago Blackhawks against the Edmonton Oilers. Watching Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid is akin to seeing David Copperfield on skates. They're true magicians with the puck.

The NBA highlight was seeing how Russell Westbrook would blend in with new Oklahoma City teammates Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. First impressions were good.

The Chicago Bulls also were in their season debut. Really, though, that was an afterthought. You could catch one of their 70 losses later.

The next "Sports Equinox" could come soon. If there is a Game 5 in the World Series, it will happen a week from Sunday. However, there won't be any national broadcasts of NBA or NHL games on Oct. 29. 

College FB: Michigan at Penn State (ABC, 6:30 p.m. Saturday): Saquon Barkley could put a grip on the Heisman Trophy with a big performance, but the Wolverines are difficult to run against. 

NASCAR: Hollywood Casino 400 (NBCSN, 2 p.m. Sunday): Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson could be eliminated before next week's semifinal round begins. However, JJ has three career wins at Kansas Speedway. 

NHL: Blackhawks at Golden Knights (NBCSC, 9 p.m. Tuesday): Vegas, baby! The first trip for Chicago to Sin City has Vegas not playing like an expansion team.

Contact Jim Benson at jbenson@pantagraph.com.

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