My Cubs prediction: The playoffs are unpredictable

By Jason Grodsky

If last year’s World Series title by St. Louis proved anything, it was that once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen.

Now I’m not trying to take anything away from the Cardinals’ postseason run last year, but going into the playoffs not many people had the Cardinals on the radar to win the World Series.

They limped into the playoffs in the final weekend and they were matched up against arguably the National League’s best pitching staff in the San Diego Padres in the Division Series.

But it didn’t matter.

They got hot and stayed hot, pushing aside the Padres, Mets and Tigers on their way to a championship.

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    The Cubs hope to follow a similar pattern this postseason.

    There is no reason not to believe the Cubbies could go on a run that puts them in the middle of baseball’s fall classic. They have the pitching, they have bats and more importantly they have a manager who knows what he’s doing and has won a World Series before.

    You can argue that the signings of Alfonso Soriano and Ted Lilly in the offseason were the keys to getting the Cubs to go from worst to first this year. But, in my opinion, the hiring of Lou Piniella as the team’s manager was the most important move by the Cubs’ front office.

    He held the team together when things looked like they couldn’t get any worse, and he’s pulled some strings along the way that allowed the North Siders to catch and pass the Brewers.

    But now comes the real test for Piniella.

    If Piniella thought there was a lot of pressure to win in Chicago during the regular season, I can’t imagine what he’ll be feeling in the postseason. But if anyone can handle the pressure and keep this team under control, it’s Piniella.

    If the Cubs reach the World Series, do the unthinkable and actually win the fall classic, Piniella would rival a coach that the city of Chicago still reveres as one of its heroes: Ditka.

    Now I don’t want to get ahead of myself and start thinking that just because the Cubs have a quality manager that this postseason will turn out any different than in 2003.

    I know the Cubs have a long way to go before they can even have a chance to reach the World Series, and, as a Cubs fanatic, part of me is wondering what the “goat” will be this year that prevents the Cubs from finally attaining a World Series berth again.

    But I’m optimistic about this year, and more importantly I’m sick and tired of having St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox fans rub their recent World Series Championships in my face.

    I’ll make you this promise: If the Cubs make it to the World Series, you won’t be seeing me in Champaign. I don’t care how, I’ll be in Wrigleyville with the rest of the Cubby nation, even if it’s just to stand out on Waveland Avenue.

    If the Cubs make the World Series, that’s when everything goes out the window, because to have the chance to be a part of what would be the biggest celebration in sports history would be priceless.

    But whether it happens or the Cubs are ousted in the first round, one thing is for sure; This season has been a magical ride and any team that can withstand the ups and downs that this season has brought on has a good chance when the slate is wiped clean and the playoffs begin.

    Remember, it’s the postseason and anything can happen.

    Jason Grodsky is a junior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected].