Imagine catching a ball in an MLB game and have that incident haunt you all your life! That’s exactly what happened to Steve Bartman. We are not sure if he would have done the same thing if he had the chance, but after disrupting the ‘potential’ catch, his life took a turn for the worse.
What had happened
It was October 14, 2003, and Cubs were playing the Marlins. In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the NLCS. Cubs were ahead 3-0 and they were holding a 3 to 2 lead in the best of seven series. As Moises Alou was trying to catch a foul ball from Luis Castillo, a bunch of people was also trying to catch the ball as it came very close to them. Steve Bartman, with his headphones, was the ‘lucky’ person who got the ball.
What Happened Next?
Well had he not ‘disrupt’ Moises Alou, it would have been the second out in the inning and the Cubs would have been four outs away from winning their first National League Pennant since 1945. But Cubs ended up surrendering eight runs in the inning and losing the game 8-3.
More importantly, this was seen as the first event that started a chain reaction of unlucky events for Cubs and Bartman. Right after the incident, Bartman had to be escorted by security and soon after his address was made public on MLB message boards, he was placed under police protection.
The Unlucky Life of Bartman
Angry fans scapegoated Bartman and he has been haunted ever since. If you think about what happened, a Cubs fan, went to a game and caught the ball, something every person wishes to happen at a game. As sports fans, and sports betters usually tend to find scapegoats when their team loses, it became a lifelong curse for him.
What is worse is that Bartman and the whole incident became a marketing material for the Cubs and whoever wanted to get on the train -even this article is taking advantage of the incident-.
The freaking seat became a tourist attraction, there was a documentary made about the whole incident called ‘Catching Hell’, countless interview requests were made and he was even offered $25,000 to sign a picture of himself at National Sports Convention in Rosemont, Illinois. He was offered a VIP seat at Wrigley Field, and some ad agency offered him six figures to appear in a Super Bowl commercial – could have been interesting though -.
Imagine being blamed for every single bad thing that happened to your favorite team, and also getting endless chances to being mocked for the incident. Bartman didn’t take advantage of any of the offers and maintained a low key profile, so far.
The ‘Fixer Elixir’ Ring
Today he received a 2016 World Series Championship Ring made especially for him. Here is the statement from Cubs:
“On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship Ring to Mr. Steve Bartman,” Ricketts and the Cubs said in a statement. “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.
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.”
Here is the statement from Bartman:
“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring,” he said in a statement. “I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations. Most meaningful is the genuine outreach from the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organization and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. 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, and to challenge the media and opportunistic profiteers to conduct business ethically by respecting personal privacy rights and not exploit any individual to advance their own self-interest or economic gain.
Moreover, I am hopeful this ring gesture will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved. To that end, I request the media please respect my privacy, and the privacy of my family. I will not participate in interviews or further public statements at this time.
Words alone cannot express my heartfelt thanks to the Ricketts family, Crane Kenney, Theo Epstein, and the entire Cubs organization for this extraordinary gift, and for providing the City of Chicago and Cubs fans everywhere an unforgettable World Championship in 2016. I am happy to be reunited with the Cubs family and positively moving forward with my life.”
We certainly don’t know if there are be more news/stories about this incident. Even though it has a mark in the team’s history, we would hope it would not affect Bartman’s life in the future.
What do you think?
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