A rematch of the 2003 National League Championship Series that featured the infamous Steve Bartman incident highlights the matchups for Major League Baseball's wild-card round.
The NL Central champion Chicago Cubs will play host to the Miami Marlins in one of the eight best-of-three, first-roundseries.
Back in 2003, the Cubs held a 3-2 series edge on the then-Florida Marlins and a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the NLCS. Bartman, a Cubs fan seated in the stands along the left field line, interfered with a foul ball that Chicago left fielder Moises Alou might have been able to catch.
The Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning, ultimately winning the game, the NLCS and the World Series. The Cubs, meanwhile, saw their championship drought reach 95 years. The Cubs finally won the World Series in 2016, and they sent a championship ring to Bartman, who had been vilified for years by the club's fans.
As for 2020, an expanded postseason is set to commence following a regular season that was reduced to 60 games due to the coronavirus pandemic. The opening best-of-three series will see all games held at the home venue of the higher seed. American League series will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and (if necessary) Thursday. NL series will be played Wednesday, Thursday and (if necessary) Friday.
Following the first round teams will not be reseeded (meaning the winner of the 1 vs. 8 wild-card matchups will play the 4 vs. 5 winner, and the 2 vs. 7 winner will play the 3 vs. 6 winner), and all games will be held in pandemic-prompted "bubbles."
The AL Division Series will be held in the San Diego Padres' Petco Park and Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, with games beginning Oct. 5 and running through Oct. 9 at the latest. Petco Park will host the AL Championship Series, which will begin Oct. 11 and run through Oct. 17 at the latest.
The NL Division Series host sites will be the Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park and the Texas Rangers' Globe Life Field in Arlington. Those games will run Oct. 6 to Oct. 10 at the latest. The NL Championship Series will be at Globe Life Field, with Game 1 on Oct. 12 and Game 7 (if needed) on Oct. 18.
Globe Life Field also will be the site of the World Series, with Game 1 on Oct. 20 and the last possible day of the season being Oct. 28 if a Game 7 is needed.
Maintaining standard procedure, the division series will be best-of-five, with the higher seed designated as the home team for Games 1, 2 and (if necessary) 5. The league championship series and the World Series will be best-of-seven, with the higher seed getting the last at-bat in Games 1 and 2 and (if necessary) Games 6 and 7.
The wild-card round matchups, in bracket order for each league:
No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers (43-17, first place in NL West) vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Brewers (29-31, fourth place in NL Central, second NL wild card)
No. 4 San Diego Padres (37-23, second place in NL West) vs. No. 5 St. Louis Cardinals (30-28, second place in NL Central)
No. 3 Chicago Cubs (34-26, first place in NL Central) vs. No. 6 Miami Marlins (31-29, second place in NL East)
No. 2 Atlanta Braves (35-25, first place in NL East) vs. No. 7 Cincinnati Reds (31-29, third place in NL Central, first NL wild card)
No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays (40-20, first place in AL East) vs. No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays (32-28, third place in AL East, second AL wild card)
No. 4 Cleveland Indians (35-25, second place in AL Central) vs. No. 5 New York Yankees (33-27, second place in AL East)
No. 3 Minnesota Twins (36-24, first place in AL Central) vs. No. 6 Houston Astros (29-31, second place in AL West)
No. 2 Oakland Athletics (36-24, first place in AL West) vs. No. 7 Chicago White Sox (35-25, third place in AL Central, first AL wild card)
--Field Level Media