I’ve been sick and tired of people blaming Steve Bartman to this day for the problems that befell the Cubs in 2003. I was at the three games in Florida that year, and I can tell you that the Cubs were simply outclassed by the Marlins.
That being said, here’s more proof that Steve Bartman didn’t ruin things fr the Cubs, courtesy of Jim Folsom at BleacherReport.com. This happened on October 20, 2010!
The score was 3-2 in favor of the Yankees. There were two on and two
out for one of the most feared hitters in the game today, Josh Hamilton
of the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers led the series two games to one, so this was a critical
at-bat for the Yankees and their underachieving pitcher A.J. Burnett.
Hamilton hit a pop foul down the left field line–and then it happened.
As Yankee left fielder Brett Gardner closed on the ball, he was
quickly running out of room. As he got to the wall and was reaching up
to make the catch, a fan reached up to make the catch also and got his
hands on the ball. A disgusted Gardner glared into the stands, and
Hamilton was given a reprieve.
Sound familiar, Cubs fans?
This was Steve Bartman all over again. It was a similar play that
kept an at-bat alive for the Florida Marlins in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS.
The Marlins then went on to score eight runs in the eighth inning and
forced a Game 7. They eventually won the World Series and kept the Cubs’
title-less streak alive at 95 years and still counting.
Bartman was immediately declared Public Enemy No. 1 in Chicago. He
was escorted from Wrigley Field before the game ended for his own
safety. He was then forced to become a recluse. He still has not been
heard from since. The man’s life was forever changed.
But here is the thing: It was not his fault. It never was. And now we
have proof. Burnett, undaunted, got Hamilton out. The inning ended, and
the Yankees then went on to lose the game anyway. The play had no
effect on the game–and in reality, neither did Bartman’s. It was a foul
ball in the stands, which every baseball player knows is not fan
If there are any fans that should be postseason-savvy enough to know
to let the player make a play in that situation, it would be Yankee
fans. After all, no fans have had more practice at the postseason than
they have. Yet here they were going after the ball. Why? Because
instinct takes over.
Part of being a fan at a baseball game is trying to catch a foul
ball. It’s what keeps fans attentive. Without being allowed to keep
baseballs, fans might not keep their eyes on the ball at all times, and
there would be more fan injuries as a result. We are trained to try to
catch foul balls as a youngster. It’s why kids bring their gloves to the
game with them.
When Bartman and that Yankee fan reached for the ball, they were
doing what any fan would do. You see the ball coming at you, you catch
it. No fan should be punished for that.
Early last season on TV I saw a fan at a Tampa Bay Rays game get in
Evan Longoria’s way on a similar play. Longoria yelled at him and then
glared at him. The poor fan was mortified. If there is any team that
cannot afford to alienate fans, it’s the Rays. I hope they apologized to
The Cubs need to reach out to Steve Bartman too. He did nothing wrong
and has had to pay a steep price. The Cubs owe him an apology. Cubs
fans owe him an apology. Baseball owes him an apology
I for one couldn’t agree more.