Miami Marlins fans are in a unique position. The Fish are a very young team, only founded in 1993. Fans of other teams went through generations of family members following a team. They had grandparents and great-grandparents with stories. It’s a family legacy for many. We don’t have that luxury, we have the great 1997 (fastest time from team foundation to championship in history at one point) and 2003 World Series winning teams. We also have a history of bad ownership and losing seasons. Here’s a personal story on how we can learn from a team we repeatedly beat in the playoffs.
Miami Marlins fans are in a unique position.
I grew up a Miami Marlins fan (and of another team from my hometown up north). I was lucky enough (sorry Chicago Cubs fans) not to have been a fan of the Chicago Cubs. However, as a fan of baseball history and as someone following the game in general, their story has always fascinated me and even inspired me.
After winning the 1908 World Series, the Chicago Cubs wouldn’t win another one until 2016. 2016. Entire family generations died waiting for a championship. Would you give up if the Miami Marlins took that long? To put it in perspective, our last World Series win was in 2003, for fans of the Chicago Cubs this is 1908-1927. Not even close to 2016.
I remember the 2003 NLCS… I was devastated as the Chicago Cubs were up 3-2 with the next two games in Chicago and their twin aces Mark Prior and Kerry Wood had the next two starts. Bad enough? How about Chicago holding a 3-0 lead going into the eighth inning of game 6. It was over… until it wasn’t. We rallied and won 8-3. The Miami Marlins scored 8 runs in the eighth inning. We then won game 7 9-6 and eliminated Chicago 4-3.
Imagine being a Chicago Cubs fan, asking how that could possibly happen. How do you blow a 3-1 series lead? How do you blow a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning? Sports Illustrated predicted the Chicago Cubs to win the 2004 World Series. It made sense, as the team had an elite rotation and a solid team. The Cubs wouldn’t make the playoffs again until 2007, as injuries ruined Wood’s and Prior’s careers.
I watched the Chicago Cubs have seemingly strong teams in 2007 and 2008 get swept by seemingly inferior teams in the NLDS both years. I watched them make the NLCS in 2015 and get swept by the underdog New York Mets.
When the Chicago Cubs finished the season with the best record in the Majors in 2016, it was hard to believe that they could actually win. They had to overcome a 2-1 series lead by the supposedly worse Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS and then go down 3-1 against the “we’re actually in the playoffs, and now World Series?!” Cleveland Indians. Chicago somehow won the next two games to force game 7.
Game 7 of the 2016 World Series started with the Chicago Cubs jumping to a 5-1 lead, which became 6-3 later. RAJAI DAVIS, who was never much of a hitter and was producing terribly in the playoffs, suddenly hit a home run to tie the game in the eighth inning. I remember texting my friend (who was also watching the game), who was a skeptic and yet for the first time agreed that the “Billy Goat Curse” existed. It just couldn’t be so unlucky for so long right?
Of course the Chicago Cubs ended up winning the series in extra innings, but what’s ride it was! What can we Miami Marlins fans learn from this? Besides being glad that we’re not Chicago Cubs fans, it’s that despite all of this their stadium attendance was always high, and their fans never gave up on them. We shouldn’t give up either. We have our own team and the players need and deserve our support. They’re playing for our city.