Any true blue Cubs fan can remember the 2003 NLCS. The one where the game turned in a blink of an eye when a fan made a play for a ball that was near the stands, or potentially in the stands. A day when the ire of the entire Cubs nation fell upon one lifelong Cubs fan who merely made a mistake. Steve Bartman did exactly what 99% of fans would have done in that situation. In fact, in the photo, there appears to be other fans making a play for the same foul ball. However, one incident, even for a long-suffering fan base such as the Chicago Cubs, should not cause a game to turn the way it did.
Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS
For those who don’t remember, the Cubs were 5 outs away with a 3-0 lead from going to the 2003 World Series. Two out was needed to get out of the eighth. Yes baseball is a game of streaks, but even the weirdness of that moment should not have caused the Cubs to go from a 3 hit shut-out to giving up 8 runs with 1 out. Baseball is a game with a human element, and as such, even though the game was on the biggest stage for the Cubs in 77 years. There is no excuse for what happened to Mr. Bartman. Pelted with debris, covered in beer, doxxed on message boards. For what, doing what 99% of fans would have done if a foul ball was coming towards their seats.
Bartman’s grab does not excuse the wheels falling off the bus in the eighth inning. Mark Prior, who was pitching lights out baseball, fell apart. This, combined with bad fielding by Alex Gonzalez, was chased from the game after the game became tied. Had Gonzalez fielded his ball clean, an inning ending double play would have been possible with the Cubs still up 3-1 going into their half of the eighth.
Years later, members of the media still pressure Bartman’s attorney for an interview. They want a story that is not forth coming. Let’s face it – Bartman was terrified following the incident. He had to be escorted out of the stadium by security. He had to have police protection after the game because he was doxxed on message boards. Thankfully, social media was in its infancy, so he didn’t have that nightmare. Let the poor man be. He suffered for 13 years as the guy who “screwed up the Cubs shot at the World Series”. But we have to admit that any among us would have done the same. There’s no need for Bartman to do an interview. He wants to drift back into obscurity. With the 2016 World Series Championship, members of the media need to grant his wish.
In short, it’s not Bartman who owes Chicago an apology. It’s the fan base of the Cubs, the Media, and Fox especially who should apologize to him, and just leave the man alone.