Mark down Monday, May 17, 2010—it’s an important date the Cubs’ new center fielder, Marlon Byrd wants us all to remember.  Despite tremendous odds and much like the ballsy comments by Broadway Joe Namath before Superbowl III, Byrd has guaranteed a playoff berth for your 2010 Chicago Cubs.

”Mark it,” Byrd said. ”We will be in the playoffs. This team’s too good not to be. And there’s a reason I signed over here. There’s a reason why I still believe in this team.”

While I love the defiant attitude and definitely like the 7 HRs, 24 runs, 25 RBI and .340 average from Byrd, the exasperated voice of Jim Mora in his famous rant instantly come to mind: “You kiddin’ me? PLAYOFFS?!”

But maybe Marlon isn’t completely out of his mind.  As horribly as they’ve played over these first 6-plus weeks, the Cubs find themselves only 6 games behind a Cincinnati team lead by the “Real Genius” himself, Dusty Baker under whom no lead is safe.  Add to that the fact that St. Louis is only 5 games up and is suddenly struggling at the plate despite the sage advice (and who knows what else?) of a blubbering batting coach Mark McGwire.  And just think if “DP” Lee (stole that one from some disgruntled fan in the bleachers last night) and Aramis actually start to come close to their old form (A-Ram’s 11th-inning, game-winning blast last night is some positive evidence) and it gives Cubs’ fans at least a glimmer of hope.

Maybe this division, and the entire NL for that matter, are just bad enough for this chronically underachieving team to actually make good on Byrd’s promise.