The other night I recorded a show on ESPN from the producers of the 30 for 30 series (named after ESPN’s 30th anniversary, I believe) called Catching Hell. It tells the story of Steve Bartman, and how the city of Chicago makes him the scapegoat of their NLCS series loss when he interferes with a foul ball that could have been caught. I remember the game well, watching it live and I remember the incident. During that 8th inning, in which the Cubs needed just one more out, the Marlins the went crazy and drove in a bunch of runs to eventually win the game…..Game 6. Had the Cubs gone on to win Game 7, no one would have cared about Steve Bartman. Instead, he is now a recluse, and still (unbelievably) living in the city of Chicago.
It amazed me the way the crowd reacted to the play, chanting “a**hole” and pointing at him for the rest of the game. They even interviewed a guy that asked him to step outside so he could beat him up. The guy didn’t all all sound sorry for it years later. What’s amazing is just as much blame could have been placed on the shortstop, who missed scooping up a ball and getting an out. Instead, all blame went to Steve Bartman. Incredible. They never did get an interview with Steve Bartman, who I did not realize issued an apology to Cubs’ fans. Considering all the other people with outstretched arms and the number of games that have fan interference, this was not necessary, Steve.
I still remember how angry I was when the Patriots lost the Super Bowl against the Giants a few years back. It would have been a perfect season. I recall blaming my oldest son because he was misbehaving that day and I thought it set the tone. I look back on that and feel ashamed. How pathetic. I have learned to control my anger when “my team” losses and realize it’s just a game (though I still get a bit bothered). But even if I was at a game like that and some fan interfered, I don’t think I would EVER go to such a dark place as the fans did at that Cubs game. It’s obvious that Mr. Bartman did not try to intentionally lose it for the Cubs.
Someday perhaps the Cubs will win the World Series and everyone will forget about it. For his sake, I hope so. But at the same time, I amused the Cubs continue to stink up the joint.