Saturday, September 26, 2015
DEAR CHICAGO: IT'S TIME FORGIVE BARTMAN
The Chicago Cubs are in the midst of something special. They have remarkable young talent,
the game's best manager, and a city that's about to come apart at the seems with the resurgence
of their lovable Cubs.
They've clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2008 and with the magic touch of
Theo Epstein, the franchise is set up for long-term success.
Yes, life is good in Chicago, especially if you're a Cubs fan.
Steve Bartman was a die-hard Cubs fans once. He loved rooting for his favorite team
and paying homage to them in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. But that all changed
one October night in 2003. The Cubs were playing the Marlins in Game 6 and appeared
to be on the verge of going to the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Then it happened.
A ball of the bat of a Marlin was lofted down the line and drifted towards a pack
of fans down the left-field line. Moises Alou, the team's veteran left-fielder thought
he had a chance at it, but when he couldn't come up with the ball, he screamed
and pouted like a petulant 5-year-old child who just had his favorite toy taken away.
In the aftermath, the cameras focused on one guy: the one in the green turtleneck, headphones,
and Cubs hat. It was Steve Bartman. In a milesecond, it seemed the whole world had turned
against him and made him into a villain. Yep, just a fan who, like so many around him, just
wanted a souvenir ball.
But when you're a fan base that has lived through curses and collapses, this was the guy
who just spooked everybody in Wrigley Field. As soon as the ball dropped out of Alou's
glove, everything became eerily silent. Everybody knew. Everybody knew this was the
beginning of the end.
When play resumed shortstop Alex Gonzalez booted a near-routine double-play ball that
would've gotten the Cubs out of a jam and Bartman off the hook. The pain increased a
a million fold. The team was doomed. Everybody knew it.
The Cubs went on to lose Game 6 and 7, shattering their dreams of going to the World
Series. The season ended for them, but it didn't stop for Bartman. He became enemy
number one and a recluse.
Yeah, all because he supposedly got in the way of Alou and prevented him from making
Yep, the only person in the history of sports who got blamed for making his team choke
a World Series appearance away.
Only in America.
Bartman has really been nowhere to be found since that night. Sure, a reporter from ESPN
tracked him down outside his place of employment, but nobody has really seen him,
which in this day and age of cellphone cameras and social media, is truly incredible.
Unless he's gone to Wrigley Field disguised as Harry Caray, nobody can be sure he's
been to a Cubs game since 2003.
Chicago, it's time to forgive Bartman. I mean, truly forgive him.
What you did to him was nonsense and borderline criminal. Sorry, he had absolutely
nothing to do with the Cubs losing that series to the Marlins. Nothing.
Imagine if you were humiliated like that? Turned into national joke and recluse? Man,
that is wrong--and painful.
I hope the Cubs reach out to Bartman and allow him to throw out the first pitch if the
teams gets a home playoff game.
It is time.
It is time to truly forgive the man who did absolutely nothing wrong. Nothing.
Give him a great moment instead of the one he's had to live with forever. Give him
his life AND his joy back.
The Cubs will be very good for a long time, give Bartman the chance to be a part
of it once again.