The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Order is Restored to the Universe

Wow! Who would have thought? Oh wait – that’s right, I did. :-) Although I did write that I thought the Cubs would find some unbelievable way to squander both games 6 and 7 at home with their aces on the mound, I didn’t realistically think that would happen. But somehow it did. And even though I’m surprised, I’m not.

How ridiculous is this statement? The Florida Marlins, the only professional sports franchise currently in existence to have never lost a postseason series, will represent the National League in the 2003 World Series, giving the Marlins the chance to win their second championship in their eleventh season of existence.

The Florida Marlins – yes, a team that should have been contracted a few years ago if not for the players union, a greedy owner in Minnesota who wanted to cash out, and a greedy owner in Montreal who wanted to move his greed to Miami. What is Bud Selig saying now? Pretty much every team that he blacklisted (including, arguably the Devil Rays) has shown some sort of success since Selig’s Blue Ribbon Panel was established – including the Montreal/San Juan Expos, who made a strong run at the Wild Card this year, despite everything Major League Baseball did to make that impossible.

Now, we don’t want to start counting our chickens before they’re hatched since whoever the Marlins face in the World Series will provide more than an adequate challenge, but I fully expect the series to go six or seven games.

Should the Marlins pull of the seemingly impossible and win the Series from either the Red Sox or Yankees and win their second title, they will not only have won two more titles than the Cubs since 1908 and the Red Sox since 1918 (even more shocking when you realize that Miami wasn’t even really a city until the mid 1920s). They’ll also have won one more title than the Yankees since 2000. Most amazingly is that the Marlins would then have two titles in their history (1993 was their first season) compared to one world championship won by the Atlanta Braves (despite that the Braves have won twelve consecutive division titles). This would be true despite the fact that the Marlins have NEVER finished ahead of the Braves in the regular season standings. This is utterly amazing. And probably reason for many to note that the Wild Card may not be everything that some of us – particularly those of us on the bandwagon in South Florida – think that it is cracked up to be.

As you may have heard by now, tickets are very hard to come by in Miami. Rumors are that all three games sold out in less than 20 minutes this morning. If true, that’s pretty amazing considering that there are 65,000 seats (although you’d have to net out both of the season ticket holders and the MLB officials and corporate sponsors who surely have tickets blocked in advance). However, I think I may have tickets lined up for all three games already (although I am kicking myself for not having put down a deposit on a 2004 mini-plan which would have guaranteed me playoff tickets… I went to 20 games this year without a plan and figured that would be doable again next year – like it is every year – although 2004 may turn into the exception, pending the Fish’s pending fire sale).

I’ve spoken to friends and colleagues who purchased their tickets over the phone through Ticketmaster outlets in Utah and California, despite the fact that all of them live in South Florida. I only personally know one person – out of probably hundreds, including people in the office – who was able to buy tickets through Ticketmaster on the web. Rumors of upper deck tickets being sold on eBay for $300 each are already circulating. For those of you who have never attended a baseball game in a football stadium, $300 per person is a lot of money to pay to sit in the upper deck, even if it is the World Series. Honestly, I’m not sure if you’ll be able to tell the teams apart from up there (ok, it’s not that bad – you can see a football game up there), but many of the outfield seats are configured to view football or concerts, and not baseball, and thus the seats face very odd directions and in many places provide incomplete views of the field (which, by the way, is not noted anywhere on the tickets,, or in any Marlins merchandise). The moral of the story is to think before you shell out a paycheck for a ducat to this Series.

The 2003 NLCS was an unbelievable series that will surely be talked about for generations to come, as much for the Marlins – led by Ivan Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, and Josh Beckett – for winning the series as for the Cubs not winning the series. I’m sure that Cubs fans will point out the 8th inning of game 6 as when the series got away, but had the series turned out the other way – Marlins fans – both of us – would have pointed back to the pivotal game 3, which the Fish, arguably, should have won. This, my friends, is what makes baseball and especially the postseason so great.


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