The Chicago Cubs have a chance to atone for the heartbreak of 2003, as they’ve been paired with the Miami Marlins in the playoffs.
It still haunts me to this day. When Paul Bako flew out to left field to end Game 7 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, sending the Florida Marlins to victory over the Chicago Cubs, it was one of the most devastating moments of my young life. I was 18 years old, still relatively naive about life, learning about what it means to really have your heartbroken.
A lot has happened since then. I’m 35 now, and we’ve all got to witness the Cubs end our frustration and win it all in 2016. Even that didn’t fully take away the sting of 2003. And when it became clear over the final few days of this season, there was a good chance that they would get paired with the now Miami Marlins in the first round of the playoffs. I started getting those feelings of anger and sadness again, but also feelings of revenge.
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Since 2003, I always cringe every time the Marlins come up on the Cubs’ schedule, much the same way I imagine older fans do for the Padres (1984) or even the Mets (1969). We all know the story of what happened; it’s not that the Marlins weren’t the better team, because in that series, ultimately, they were.
No, it’s how they lost in such devastating fashion to a ten-year-old team that nobody seemed to care about. (I know they have fans, just not nearly as many as the North Siders do.)
This time, the stakes aren’t relatively high, as it’s only the NL Wild Card round instead of the League Championship Series. And the Cubs have since won a title, so no massive drought is on the line. Yet, in a way, this is indeed a chance for the team to get some redemption.
All the players from last time are long gone, but for those who remember 2003, it still would feel extra nice to get some revenge on the Marlins, who are making their first postseason appearance since that 2003 season.
Don’t get me wrong; I still have great memories of 2003. Yet the way it ended is still painful 17 years later. The Cubs in the playoffs always is a big deal, but to me, this series feels like it has just a little bit more meaning to it. Let’s hope the home team can come out as victors this time.