Chicago Cubs to Steve Bartman: Here’s your own World Series ring. Really.
It’s been almost three decades since we’ve had a World Series in Los Angeles. Get to the World Series, and all is forgiven.
Such is the case for the Chicago Cubs and Steve Bartman, the fan who etched his name into notoriety by trying to catch a foul ball at the 2003 National League championship series.
Trouble was, Cubs left fielder Moises Alou also was trying to catch that foul ball. Neither did. Alou was livid that a fan of the home team would get in his way, and Cubs fans were outraged as well.
The Cubs were five outs away from their first World Series since 1945, with a three-run lead. They lost that game, and the next one too, and the Florida Marlins advanced to the World Series.
Never mind that the Cubs still led, 3-0, when Bartman made his misplay. The Cubs now had been bestowed with two curses: the Curse of the Billy Goat, and the Curse of Steve Bartman.
Bartman kept a low profile over the years: staying away from Wrigley Field, laying low when a movement arose for him to throw out a ceremonial first pitch when the Cubs finally did make it back to the World Series last year, skipping the championship parade that followed. His spokesman issued a statement saying Bartman, like all Cubs’ fans, was “overjoyed” by the Cubs’ championship.
The Cubs’ owners promised to do right by Bartman this year. They have. In a statement to WGN, the Cubs said they would present Bartman with a World Series championship ring.
“We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series,” the Cubs said.
“While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today.”
Bartman also issued a statement, saying he was “deeply moved and sincerely grateful.”
Said Bartman: “I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.
“I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society. My hope is that we all can learn from my experience to view sports as entertainment and prevent harsh scapegoating.”
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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