For the fifth time in six seasons, the Chicago Cubs will take part in postseason baseball.
The feeling of October baseball is one many associated with the Chicago Cubs have grown accustomed to in recent years. Still, the same cannot be said for the team awaiting them in the first round–the Miami Marlins.
Since they first came into the league in 1993, this year marks just the third time in franchise history the Marlins have reached the postseason. Miami qualified as a playoff team by winning the Wild Card in 1997 and 2003, where they would eventually go on to become World Series Champions in each year.
Both the Cubs and Marlins faced off in the 2003 NLCS, and if you’re a fan of baseball, you probably know what happened, so I’ll save the time and pain for Cub-fans by sparing the details.
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A better question would be, what is the over/under on how many times the television broadcasters will mention this during the Wild Card Series?
Nonetheless, the Marlins (31-29) played their way into the second place in the NL East and the sixth overall seed in the National League.
It’s safe to say Miami’s CEO, Derek Jeter (yes, the former Yankee), could not have expected his team to qualify for the playoffs so soon in a rebuilding process. Especially considering the number of games missed due to positive COVID-19 tests in the early weeks of the season.
There were plenty of jokes being tossed around on the internet about how the MLB should continue the season anyways without the Marlins, who would probably be irrelevant.
Yet through all the turmoil, manager Don Mattingly kept his team (with lots of players brought in from the alternate training site) playing hard, and now they have a legitimate shot at a World Series like the other 15 teams in the playoffs.
You might not recognize a lot of faces, but they are a scrappy group:
On paper, it’s a bit of a David and Goliath matchup, but that’s no reason for the Cubs to take this team lightly, especially considering the best-of-three format for the Wild Card Series.
The Cubs will have home-field advantage, but all it takes is a bad offensive performance in game one like we have many times this season, and all of a sudden, they’re playing from behind.
If that’s the case, it’ll be a quick October.