Steve Bartman where art thou?
We all know the story by now…During Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins, Cubs fan Steve Bartman was blamed for ruining Chicago’s chance to advance to the World Series when he tried to grab a Luis Castillo popup foul ball, deflecting it out of the reach of leaping outfielder Moises Alou.
The Cubs led the series three games to two and were up 3–0 in the eighth inning of Game 6. Had they won, they would have earned a trip to the World Series for the first time in 58 years. Instead, Alou didn’t make that catch, the Marlins scored eight runs and knocked Chicago out of the playoffs in Game 7 the following night.
Who really knows if Alou would have caught the ball, he has changed his stance multiple times in the 13 years since the incident.
Even with Bartman’s interference there are plenty of other reasons why the Cubs did not advance to the World Series.
I would say, Alex Gonzalez is more responsible than Bartman after the would-be inning-ending double play the Cubs shortstop booted, prolonging the Marlins’ rally. Or Mark Prior for Prior’s subsequent walk of Luis Castillo or Dusty Baker for Baker leaving Prior in too long.
Still, Bartman was blamed. Watch the infamous play below, or don’t if you’re a Cubs fan and the visual is too painful.
So where in the world is Steve Bartman now?
It’s not entirely clear. He has stayed out of the public eye, more so than any other human being who is trying to be found on this planet. When The New York Times investigated in 2013, Bartman was still living in Chicago and working for a financial services consulting firm. The Times also confirmed Bartman, who didn’t speak to the newspaper for the story, was still a fan of the Cubs.
He was forced to change his phone number after thousands of death threats and I’m sure much worse things. He even turned down six-figure offers to appear in commercials and on TV. The Cubs invited him to return to Wrigley in 2013, but he also declined that invitation.
For Bartman’s sake, there is a piece of me that wants the Cubs to win just for him. Then, just maybe, he can become a beloved ambassador for the Cubs, similar to a Bill Buckner of the Red Sox organization.
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