Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. In June of 2003 I left my parents’ home in South Florida and moved to Orlando for school. I had no friends, no job, and no family in Orlando. Over the next few months I went to school, made some friends, and got a job that I’m still at to this day. The one thing that did stay with me in my move to Orlando was the Marlins. For the first few weeks I hopped restaurant to restaurant looking for any place that showed Marlins games. Finally I found that City Walk at Universal Studio had such a place. Every day after work I would head to City Walk and watch the Marlins play. Finally, when the Marlins got to the playoffs the games were broadcasted on a channel my rabbit-eared tv was able to pick up. It was both heart breaking and amazing to see the Marlins in a playoff again. It was heart breaking for me because I wasn’t in Miami to see it, and it was amazing because they were in the playoffs! Moment 55 I will never forget because it was my first happy memory since moving to Orlando. The Marlins win game 7 of the NLCS.
Alright, enough about my life, let’s talk about the game. First let me give some back story (I promise it’s not about my life anymore). Entering game 5 the Marlins were down 3-1 in the series and it looked like the Cubs were going to finally lift the Curse of the Billy Goat. The Marlins however had other plans. The Marlins won Game 5 in Miami and were off to Chicago for game 6. Stuff happened during that game that we will be handling later on this list, but ultimately the Marlins won and forced a game 7. Boy what a game 7 it was!
Finally we are onto the game. It was a cold October 15, 2003 night in Chicago and the Marlins came out swinging in the first inning. Juan Pierre started everything off with a triple to right field. Up next came Luis Castillo, who flied out to shallow left field which couldn’t score Juan. Ivan Rodriguez drew a walk putting runners at 1st and 3rd with rookie star Miguel Cabrera up to the plate. Miggy sent that ball flying over the ivy for a 3 run blast giving the Marlins the lead. The Cubs would answer back in the bottom of the 2nd with a groundout RBI by Damian Miller, which was then was followed by a 2 run homer by Kerry Wood. The score was all tied up, but it wouldn’t stay like that for long.
In the bottom of the 3rdMark Redman hit Sammy Sosa and the next batter, Moises Alou, made him pay for it by sending a ball into the Chicago night to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead. Did the Marlins luck run out? Would it be a battle of the curses in the World Series? If it had turned out that way would I be writing about it in the Greatest Moment in Marlins History? We enter the top of the 5th and Brian Banks is pinch hitting for Brad Penny, and he draws a walk. Juan flies out to center field, and Castillo draws a walk. A Marlin on 1st and 2nd with one out and up comes Pudge. Hero or goat Pudge? How about hero! He smacks a double that scores Banks. Next up is Miggy. Hero or goat Miggy? Hero, he grounds out but still scores Castillo to tie up the game. Derrek Lee is next. Hero or goat, Lee? Hero as well! Lee singles in Pudge to give the Marlins the lead 6-5 and they did not look back.
The Marlins put 2 more on the runs on the board and the Cubs 1 more to make it a 9-6 game going into the bottom of the 9th. In comes Ugueth Uriba. He starts the inning off rough by hitting Aramis Ramirez with a pitch. Randall Simon came up next and sat right back down with a strike out. 2 outs away from the World Series. Up next is the other Alex Gonzalez. 3 pitches, 3 strikes and now the Marlins are 1 out away from the World Series. Paul Bako is up. Pitch 1, ball. Pitch 2, contact is made but it’s not good enough as the ball falls into Mr. Marlins Jeff Conine’s glove for out number 3. The Marlins are going back to the World Series!
For an 18 year old kid in a new city this was a taste of home that I missed, but at the same time reminded me that no matter where I go baseball and the Marlins will always be there. It was a great day to be a Marlins fan.
Tags: Alex Gonzalez Aramis Ramirez Brad Penny Brian Banks Damian Miller Derrek Lee Ivan Rodriguez Jeff Conine Juan Pierre Kerry Wood Luis Castillo Mark Redman Miami Marlins Miguel Cabrera Moises Alou Paul Bako Randall Simon Sammy Sosa Ugueth Uriba