In the early weeks of the 2003 season, less than a year after the Chicago Cubs had finished 30 games out of first place in the National League Central, new manager Dusty Baker was asked who he thought would represent the league in the World Series.
He leaned back in his chair in his Wrigley Field office and thought about it for a moment.
"Why not us?" he said.
Well, there were plenty of reasons, not the least of which were the facts that the Cubs hadn't won a World Series in nearly a century or even shown up for one since 1945. But there was a new sheriff in town.
The Cubs came within one game — and one deflected pop foul — of reaching the...