It was Game 6 the National League Championship Series and the Chicago Cubs were up by 3 and only 5 outs away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 1945. The patient and loyal fans waited anxiously for the dream season to continue. And then disaster struck.
On a routine pop foul along the left field wall, Moises Alou did not have the chance to snag the ball, because an eager fan reached up and grabbed a souvenir. That fan was Steve Bartman. And he became the new scapegoat to the Cubbies failures. Yes, the Florida Marlins went on to blaze up an 8-run inning and embarrass the hometown Cubs. Game 7 rolled around and the Cubs just could not hold on.
Still to this day, Cubs fans all around blame Steve Bartman, a Chicago resident and fan, for destroying their shot at a world title. And I think this is absolutely ridiculous.
The Cubs gave up EIGHT runs in ONE inning! There were walks, errors, bad pitching; They are supposed to be a professional baseball team. If you're playing pro ball and give up eight runs in one pop, it's no ones fault but your own.
I do understand that one of the big complaints from fans is that it changed the mood and momentum of the game. I disagree. Fan interference happens all the time. And it's not like he reached over the wall. The ball was in the stands. Yes, as a Cubs fan he should have got the hell out of the way, but for Chicago fans to blame Steve Bartman is pathetic.
I played collegiate baseball and had the amazing opportunity to play on the same field as countless outstanding ball players. If we ever gave up eight in an inning. Yeah, our fault.
Bottom line, there are a lot of opinions about the affects of Steve Bartman on that Game 6, and there's no answer other than the Cubs lost.
ESPN Films is premiering their newest 30 for 30 Film, "Catching Hell", to tell the story of Steve Hartman and the life he has been forced to lead since that fateful night in Chicago. If the film, directed by Oscar-winning Docu-Director Alex Gibney, is half as good as the other 30 for 30 Films that I've seen, it's going to be amazing. Especially if you don't know the story of Game 6 very well, this will be a great film to watch.
"Catching Hell" premiers Thursday, September 29th at 11 PM EST and will be replayed on multiple ESPN channels throughout the network. Be sure to check your local listings for showtimes.
Photo Credits: ASSOCIATED PRESS