October 14th marks the 8th anniversary of the day that then-26 year-old Cubs fan Steve Bartman’s life changed forever; and we’re not talking about the type of life-changing that happens when you win the lottery.
No, poor Steve Bartman achieved infamy after he tried to catch a fly ball in foul territory in the 8th inning of a game that the Cubs were up 3-0. He didn’t catch the ball, but he caught the wrath of Moises Alou and Cub nation.
There are plenty of sane people who don’t blame Bartman for the Cubs blowing the lead in game six of the playoff series against the Marlins that night, and then going on to lose the series to Florida. Just like there are plenty of sane people who didn’t blame Bill Buckner for the Sox losing the ’86 World Series. (fun fact: I have Buckner’s rookie card. He’s on it as a Dodger prospect with my cousin, Jack Jenkins. I had Jack sign it, but haven’t been able to get Buckner to sign it, too)
So, fortunately, there are plenty of other pieces that paint Bartman for what he really was: A huge Cub fan who did the exact same thing thousands of other baseball fans would have done if they were in that same place, reach up trying to catch a foul ball. He just happened to do it in a huge game, and had the misfortune of Moises Alou’s antics being seen all over TV around the country.
First off, Moises Alou is a jackass. A peeing-on-his-own-hands jackass, who had no idea if he would have been able to catch that ball. All he knew was that he didn’t catch it, and damned if it wasn’t somebody else’s fault. But you know, Moises, Bartman didn’t boot what would have been an easy double play ball any other time of the year like Alex Gonzalez did. Bartman didn’t give up eight runs in that 8th inning. And he didn’t lose the next game, the seventh and final game in the series, to the Marlins, either.
Heck, by the end of the ninth inning in Game 7, Bartman was looking for a new job and a new place to live, preferably somewhere that had never heard of baseball.
To quote Mrs. Doubtfire talking to Jason Bourne in “Good Will Hunting,” “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.”
We’re pretty sure Steve Bartman, wherever he is, will read this. And Steve, just know: If you’re guilty of anything, it’s of being a Cubs fan.
And that’s really more of a victimless crime.
You are now informed. Go and do likewise.