I was at work during the Cubs game today and the last I'd heard the Cubs were leading 2 to nothing. I was pretty happy for them. Now I'm a White Sox fan, but I am not one of those Cub haters... never have been, never will be, especially now that I live on the West Coast and there isn't this big rivalry that I have to worry about. So I get in the car to go home for the night and I hear they are getting beat going into the 9th. Got home and watched the last few outs. "Oh well, get 'em tomorrow," I think to myself. Then, after watching Boston win in Anaheim, I switch to Sportscenter for the highlights. First thing I see... the curses. Of course. The stupid curses on the Cubs. I'm thinking to myself, "well, they got out-pitched by Derek Lowe", who is now 4-0 in his last 6 postseason starts. Not the end of the world. But the next thing I know, on the left side of my screen is Moises Alou reaching for a foul ball and a fan wearing headphones grabs at the ball. Now I'm pissed. Not at the fan, but at ESPN. I've been somewhat mad at ESPN since the fall of 2003 when it happened. Why this poor s.o.b's name ever was released to the public, I'll never know. I mean, I guess it was inevitable with the internet and the press that someone would find out who he was, but that very night, they told people that this is Steve Bartman and that basically, he's the reason the Cubs lost the game tonight. They lost a lot of respect in my eyes that night.
Put yourself in the poor sap's shoes for a minute. You're a lifelong Cub fan. You bleed blue for God's sake. You're minding your own business, stoked that the Cubs are up 3 to nothing and seemingly cruising to the World Series. The guys on the radio are getting tense and excited in your ear. Pryor is mowing them down... 5 more outs and we're in. Sweet! You wonder if you can get tickets. Castillo, the batter, hits a bunch of fouls. On the 8th pitch of the at bat, you look, and you can't believe it. It's coming right toward you! A souvenir like this, from the game the Cubs won to go to the big one. It's all yours! Oops. The next thing you know, after having maybe 10 seconds to make a decision to go for the ball, which you never really even thought of not going for, all hell breaks loose. People are screaming and shouting and pointing their fingers at you... not only that, but the ballplayers are doing it too. The next thing you know, you are taken out by security and your life is over.
Now let's keep in mind that it was still exactly the same situation the pitch following the Bartman play as it was before the Bartman play. Cubs lead 3-0, Pryor with a 3 hitter, 5 outs to the World Series. Nothing had changed. Who knows if Alou would've even caught that ball. You can say he probably would've, but we'll never know. I understand that the team wanted fan interference on the play, but they were wrong. It happens. The Cub players freaked out. They lost their composure so badly that it was over. The curse, if there is such a thing, should be called "the Cubs lose their minds over something that didn't really even hurt them all that much curse." Not a very catchy name I know, but maybe you can think of something better to call it. This poor guy's life was over; all because he got a seat a little too close to the action and reached out a little too far. He got death threats for trying to catch a ball. He had reporters hounding him at every turn. And now, 5 years later, the poor guy can't even watch Sportscenter or read a bulletin board on this site when the Cubs make the playoffs because some idiot from Milwaukee has created a Bartman thread. He probably wishes he never even heard of the Cubs. I was watching the White Sox/Twins game the other day... not the one they won, but one of them at the rollerdome, and the Twins announcers brought up Bartman when one of their fans almost took a foulout away from one of their players. This is 5 years later. FIVE YEARS. Give the poor guy a break. To borrow from that idiot Chris whatshisface “LEAVE POOR BARTMAN ALONE!!!! He’s a real live person who didn’t want fame, or in this case, infamy. He just wanted his team in the World Series. I’m not trying to rag on Cub fans, and if you take it that way, I’m truly sorry. I hope your team does well this playoff season. But my point is that it wasn’t his fault, and there is no Bartman curse. And anyone who even brings it up anymore should be ashamed.