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Trip to Chicago brings memories of 2003 NLCS

CHICAGO -- Outfielder Juan Pierre and manager Mike Redmond have vivid memories of what happened at Wrigley Field 10 years ago this October.

The Marlins, down three games to one in the National League Championship Series against the Cubs, came back to win Games 6 and 7 to advance to, and ultimately win, the World Series.

"The World Series is the World Series," Pierre said before Monday's series opener against the Cubs. "You got the ring, but as far as the fans wanting it so much and just the whole scenario [being] down 3-1, we definitely celebrated more [at Wrigley Field after winning the NLCS] than after winning the World Series."

Pierre said that he didn't think anything of the foul ball that was deflected by fan Steve Bartman in the eight-run eighth inning of Game 6 that propelled the Marlins to a victory to avoid elimination and force Game 7.

"I [hit] a double down the line and I was on second base when the Bartman ball [was hit]," Pierre said. "I had no clue all that stuff was going on. ... We didn't even think anything of it."

Pierre said what he remembers most about that inning was the ground ball to shortstop that could have resulted in an inning-ending double play had Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez not made an error on the play.

"I remember the ground ball more than anything," Pierre added. "That's the one that as a player, you [think], man, we caught a break on that one."

Redmond was a catcher on the 2003 championship team, and said that he also remembers Games 6 and 7 well.

"We definitely talk about it, especially having [Juan Pierre] around," Redmond said. "We talk about those two games and every time I come to Chicago, that's usually the first thing I think about is that series and how electric the city was, but how loud it was out here, too.

"Those two games changed everything for us. ... It was great to be a part of it. Those are games we'll talk about for the rest of our lives."

Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said he was concerned about what he would say had the Marlins been defeated in that series.

"I remember that Game 6, I was a young general manager at the time and I was trying to figure out what to say to the team ... and then that eight-run eighth happened," Beinfest said. "I remember I just went home [and] I turned on SportsCenter to make sure it really happened."

The 2003 Marlins defeated the Yankees in six games to win the second World Series championship in franchise history.

Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @MannyBal9.
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