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Baseball Cubs, Marlins Ready for First Pitch of Surprising NL Championship Series - 2003-10-07

The Chicago Cubs take on the Florida Marlins Tuesday in game one of Major League Baseball's National League Championship Series in Chicago. This series is something Cubs fans have waited nearly a century to see.

The Cubs won a post-season series for the first time since 1908 when they beat the Atlanta Braves Sunday in a best-of-five divisional series, three games to two.

The first two games of the best-of-seven National League Championship Series are in Chicago's historic Wrigley Field. At stake is a place in the World Series. Cubs' pitcher Kerry Wood says that his team is focused on beating Florida and is not thinking about what it would do if it reaches the World Series. "It's back to work and another goal we have to go for and that's the Florida Marlins. And we have to get ready for those guys and look at that series first and get past that series and then we can look further. But our eyes right now are on the Marlins," he said.

The Cubs will start pitcher Carlos Zambrano while Florida will counter with Josh Beckett. Beckett says he knows this will be a tough Naitonal League Championship Series (NLCS), but making it to the World Series is never easy. "I'm looking forward to it. We're going to have to face some tough pitching, and you know, their lineup is not too shabby either, so who said this was going to be easy? That's what this is all about. Getting to the World Series should be hard," he said.

The Marlins are back in the NLCS for the first time since they won the World Series in 1997.

The American League Championship Series begins Wednesday and features two long-time rivals, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox have not won the World Series since 1918.

The Yankees beat Minnesota in their divisional series in four games, while Boston had to rally from a two-game deficit to defeat the Oakland Athletics in five games. The first two games of the best-of-seven American League Championship Series will be in New York.