AJ FLOODSTRAND | SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
It was all on game six of the 2003 National League Championship Series. The Chicago Cubs had a three games to two lead over the Florida Marlins. It was the 8th inning with one out and the Cubs were up 3-0. With 5 more outs they would be in the World Series for the first time in 95 years.
A well hit ball by Florida Marlins Luis Castillo looked to be a routine fly out down the left field line. The ball continued to carry towards the stands but appeared to still be in play. A half of dozen fans lined up over the railing in search of a once in a lifetime souvenir. As Cubs left fielder Moises Alou jumped up against the wall for the foul ball, it was deflected, by a fan. After the deflected contervisonal “in play ball” the Cubs went on to walk Castillo. A single with an RBI and costly error on routine ground ball out that could have went ended the inning in a double play resulted in loading the bases. The Cubs would go on to let the Marlins score eight straight runs falling in game six 8 to 3. They would go on to lose game seven 9 to 6 with Florida overcoming another deficit.
If the Cubs would have come back to win the decisive game 6 or game 7 the foul ball incident would had just been ordinary play. While today it remains controversial that Alou would have caught it if it wasn’t deflected the fact remains in almost all Cub’s fans mind that it would have been. Unfortunately, a fan with earphones and a green turtleneck who deflected the “In play ball” named Steve Bartman became the poster fan of the curse of the Chicago Cubs the last decade. The poor man has received countless death threats, been the subject derogatory slurs and is the so called reason behind the prior 108 year curse of the lovable losers.
Before the start of the the 2016 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs many fans questioned if Bartman would reappear. This was Chicago’s first appearance in the World Series since 1908 and the Indians first world Series appearance since 1948. Making it a big moment for both teams. Cleveland Indians Second Baseman Jason Kipnis, a Chicago native announced that he would like to see Bartman throw out the first pitch in the Series. While countless people have attempted to try to, unsuccessfully, persuade Bartman to come back to Wrigley Field, this one was special. It could be redemption for Baartman who was escorted out of Wrigley by security after that fateful game six in 2003 and has yet to be seen in public ever since.
Despite the rumors offering Bartman millions of dollars to appear on commercials, sit down for interviews, or any type of publicity stunt, Bartman has remained in hiding. So the chances of Bartman actually appearing in public, not to mention the stadium where he became infamous, was very unlikely. I commend Kipnis for the idea, it’s better that what the Cub’s organization has done in the past decade, other than offer a few statements on some personality shows. Through Bartman’s spokesperson, lawyer, Frank Murtha, he stated that there would be a slim to none chance Bartman would reappear at Wiggly. While I don’t blame Bartman for not wanting to go back to Wiggly, down the future it may be a win- win situation for all. Bartman could receive a sense in humanity again and the Cubs could find some peace.
With the Cubs game 7 extra innings 8 to 7 victory over the Cleveland Indians. Chicago was able hoist the Commissioner’s trophy. Marking their first World Series win since 1908. This raised more speculations about Bartman possible appearance the in 2017 season. With the likelihood of this happening still improbable it made it obvious that win or lose for the Cubs, the story and legacy of Bartman will never go away.