The Cubs Have Given A World Series Ring To A Very Unlikely Person
October 14, 2003 is a very important day in Cubs history. It's the day the wheels came off of their best playoff run in decades.
Not many people will instantly remember the booted, tailor made double play ball from Alex Gonzalez. Or Dusty Baker mismanaging yet another pitching staff. Or the Cubs wasting a great Game 7 performance from ace Kerry Wood that included him launching a home run that hit a television camera. What people will remember is this:
I remember where I was. Sitting in my Woodstock apartment, watching the game with my roommate. We were preparing ourselves for the Cubs' first trip to the World Series since 1945.
I hate the word surreal, but that's the only way to describe what happened. We were a team of destiny. This wasn't supposed to happen. We took Moises Alou's cue and were furious with the "idiot" who got in his way. We were 5 outs away. We could taste it.
The rest is history. The error. The collapse. Game 7 had a different feel. There was dread in the air. All because that guy in the green turtleneck and headphones did exactly what 99% of all fans in his position would do.
Then his name was leaked. Steve Bartman. He was public enemy number one. It was his fault.
I'll admit to the fact that I was swept up in the Bartman hate. It was a curse. It was the Cubs.
And here we are now, 14 years after his name was basically a 4-letter word to anyone on the north side of Chicago, getting some redemption. The Cubs have officially reached out to Mr. Bartman to give him a World Series ring.
Will a ring make up for the past decade-plus? Will it make the hate mail go away? Will it erase the image of Alou throwing his glove and a tantrum 14 years ago? No, it will do none of that, but it's a great gesture none the less.
The Cubs didn't have to do this. They weren't involved in ruining Bartman's life, the media made sure that happened.
Steve Bartman did release a statement, his first public statement since that fateful day:
Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 ring... I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important remincer for how we should treat each other in todayh's society.
Awesome. Looks like the hatchet might officially be buried.