A legendary World Series win for the Chicago Cubs has the team's fans everywhere celebrating. As such, now could be a good time to forgive old sins.
Steve Bartman would be good place to start.
For those unfamiliar with him, Bartman, now 39, was a die-hard Cubs fan who attended a 2003 Nationals League Championship Series game in Chicago. The game, played between the Cubs and the Florida Marlins, was a big lead-up game to the World Series, and the Cubs were up 3-0 in the eighth inning and just five outs from advancing.
When the Marlins hit a foul ball in the direction of Cubs outfielder Moises Alou, Bartman reached out to grab it. The ball bounced off of Bartman's arm and into the stands, but Alou could have caught the ball had Bartman — surrounded by fellow Cubs fans, all reaching out, as well — pulled his arm back.
Instead, the fan's interference helped the Marlins extend what would turn out to be an eight-run inning. The Marlins then went on to win the World Series.
Following the incident at the actual game, Bartman had to be escorted out from the stadium after the fans’ rage turned physically threatening.
As a result, Bartman — who works for a financial firm and still resides in Chicago — has been ridiculed, hounded and harassed for 13 years. He has also been offered to write books and commercial opportunities, according to Bartman’s family friend and spokesperson Frank Murtha.
Cubs fans have blamed Bartman for his part in the Marlins’ win during the fateful October game during that eighth inning at Game 6 of the NLCS. Many have argued that Bartman’s move should not have mattered any way, thanks to the five outs and 3-0 lead, USA Today reported.
Bartman has since become an enduring symbol in the Cubs’ history as the ultimate scapegoat.
“Steve became the perfect cover for bad baseball and bad managing of baseball,” Murtha told USA Today.
Thirteen years later, though, some fans have forgiven the Bartman fiasco and had even requested that he return for one of the World Series Game to throw the first pitch.
Today, and during the years leading up to this win, Bartman has only wanted to move on with his life, according to Murtha.
“Steve is cheering for the Cubs and continues to be a Cubs fan. He just wants everybody, moving forward, to respect his privacy and let his life continue to unfold as the grand plan has it,” Murtha said.
While the World Series Win for the Cubs hopefully brings some closure to the matter, Bartman’s lore will likely not be soon forgotten.