The Chicago Cubs
The vast majority of non-Cardinals fans are probably leaning this direction already. Crowned as presumptive champions in the offseason, there was briefly talk of making it official after their torrid start those first two months. The Loveable Losers are once again a series away from a partial breaking of the infamous Curse, and would be the on paper favorite in any matchup.
Marlins Reasons: First and foremost, I give you Chris Coghlan. A former 2009 NL ROY as a Marlin, he’s settled comfortably into an existence as a mediocre role player, widely respected as a grinder willing to take on any role. Cogs is your roster tie, but there is one more former Fish you’ll see on the field for the Cubbies. That’d be first base coach Brandon Hyde, better known as Marlins Manager No. 11. Hyde was the fill-in manager for that one game between the time Edwin Rodriguez quit and Jack KcKeon finished packing his suitcase for his second stint with the club. Rather than focus on his 0-1 record technically making him the worst manager in team history in terms of winning percentage, which is fun trivia, I will say he spent nine years with the organization as a minor league manager and major league bench coach.
There’s one more reason though I want to throw out. Earlier this week, I suggested that Cubs reliever Aroldis Chapman would make an excellent free agent target for the Marlins. While I think the Marlins will be competitive in 2017, they’ll be far from a favorite. If Chapman is able to check off “World Champion” from his career to-do list in 2016, he might be a bit more willing to sign with the club that’s close to his offseason home.
Other Reasons: Are you a fan of watching history? How about historic, beautiful ballparks? Really don’t think I need to build up the drama that would surround a Cubs World Series trip, the first since a local tavern owner was goat-shamed back in 1945. Of course, the drought runs all the way back to 1908 for that elusive title. The history is the story, whether you have family ties to Chi-town or not.
For me, Cubbies are the least objectionable from the Marlins angle- not a division rival, not a former employer of the team’s skipper. But it’s so hard to let go of the woeful Cubs story. The sky is blue, the grass is green, the Cubs and Red Sox can’t win the World Series. We were taught this growing up. Boston earned it with that four game rally against the Yankees. The Cubs…they might need to do something equally amazing for me to feel good about reordering the universe.
By the way, #goatshaming is apparently an actual thing. Because of course it is.