The Miami Marlins are one of the most interesting teams in Major League Baseball. Prior to this season they only had two playoff appearances, but in both those seasons, they won the World Series. So, they are no strangers to unusual seasons as the top online casino players can attest.
Prior to the season they were being called “bottom feeders” by some of the most respected voices in the world of baseball. As they began to rise through the standings as the season went on, they adopted it as their catchphrase. They even made t-shirts with the phrase written across the chest.
Although the legitimacy of their playoff run has been called into question because of the shortened season, no one can take away what the Marlins did this year. This was the first taste of playoff baseball under the tenure of Derek Jeter, and it could be a sign of things to come.
Here is a look at three of the most memorable moments of the Marlins season as they worked towards their first playoff birth since 2003:
The Bottom Feeders
Prior to the season, the Marlins were projected to amongst the worst teams in Major League Baseball. Famously, Phillies’ pitcher turned studio analyst Ricky Bottalico called the team “bottom feeders.” As a result, it would not have been surprising if Marlins fans were avoiding sports betting altogether. It would seem Marlins’ fans were better off turning to other online casino favorites of Canadians and Americans like Bitstarz Casino to get their gambling fix.
Although they may have embraced the name of “bottom feeders” after they started to win. It was not bold to predict the Marlins to have another poor season at the time. In 2019, this team lost 105 games and finished with the worst record in the National League. It would have been less surprising for this team to finish last again than it was for them to make the playoffs.
However, despite the predictions of many experts, the Marlins exceeded expectations. They would make t-shirts with “bottom feeders” written across the chest, and they would embrace it as a motto for their playoff run.
Overcoming an Outbreak
COVID-19 shut down North American pro sports in mid-March, and they did not begin to return until late July. Notably, the NBA and NHL had to postpone their seasons weeks before the playoffs were about to start. Although this was an inconvenience, it allowed them to organize bubbles for their return to play. This was not a possibility for the MLB because they needed to play out an entire season. Getting players to stay in a bubble for the entire season was not realistic.
Since the MLB could not organize a bubble, they needed to play the season in the host cities like a regular season, but without fans. Although efforts were being made to minimize the spread of COVID-19, it seemed inevitable that it was only a matter of time until the first outbreak.
Unfortunately, the Marlins became the first team to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak since the return of pro sports. In a matter of days, 18 players tested positive for the virus and were forced to quarantine at the team’s hotel in Philadelphia. When this happened, the team was forced to call up rookies and scour the waiver wire to put together a competitive roster.
With a team that had almost no major league experience, it was expected that they would fall flat. However, the opposite happened as they won five games in a row, and seven of their next 10 games. This stretch without their starters gave the Marlins the push they needed to eventually reach the postseason for the first time in 17 years.
Bringing Playoff Baseball Back to Miami
With the shortened season, the MLB expanded the playoff format to include 16 teams. This was done in an effort to make the playoffs more inclusive and exciting for more fanbases. However, the Marlins were determined not to make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. Instead, they wanted to secure their playoff position safely.
On September 25th, the five-year anniversary of Jose Fernandez’s death, the Marlins clinched their first playoff birth since 2003. They did so in Yankee Stadium, the same field where they played their most recent playoff game. It was where they won the 2003 World Series.
The Miami Marlins would enter the playoffs as the sixth seed in the National League. As a result, they would face the third seed Chicago Cubs in a best of three series. Game one took place on September 30th, and the Marlins safely won the game 5-1.
The Marlins entered game two on October 2nd after the game had been postponed one day because of weather, with a chance to close out the series. Although the Cubs put up a better fight than in game one, the Marlins were victorious once again by a score of 2-0. The Marlins had won their first playoff series in 17 years.
Unfortunately, this is where the Marlins Cinderella run would come to an end. They were set to face the number two seeded Atlanta Braves in the round of eight. The Braves were coming off a convincing 2-0 series victory over the Cincinnati Reds, and they quickly dispatched the Marlins in three games.
Although the season did not end how Marlins’ fans had hoped. The team provided the city of Miami with something they had been missing for a long time, hope for the future.