Jul. 31, 2018
My Thoughts on the Bartman Ring
Yesterday the Chicago Cubs announced that they would be giving a personalized, 2016 World Series ring to lifelong Cubs fan and former Public Enemy Number 1 Steve Bartman.
Bartman is remembered for interfering with Cubs outfielder Moises Alou in game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins, while in pursuit of a foul ball. If Alou catches the ball, there would be two outs, and the Cubs would be on their way to winning their first pennant since World War II.
Assuming the ball is caught, batter Luis Castillo would be out and Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez would be up, with 2 outs, down 3-0, with Juan Pierre on second base. The fatiguing Mark Prior would have likely issued a free pass to the catcher, bringing up future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera, with 2 on, 2 out and slugging first baseman Derrek Lee on deck to be followed by Mike Lowell and Jeff Conine.
Yeah, Bartman was the problem here.
Instead, the count was full, there was one out and Pierre was still the lone baserunner at second. Prior walks Castillo on a wild pitch, allowing Pierre to advance to third. Then the inning unraveled. The Marlins put up 8 runs in the inning, going on to win the game by a score of 8-3.
Bartman, a fan in the stands, was turned into the villian. Yes, it was a man who tried to catch a foul ball in foul territory that was the scapegoat, not shortstop Alex Gonzalez or right fielder Sammy Sosa, who both had errors in the inning, resulting in more runs scoring. Cubs fans should be ashamed and apologetic.
But why? Why was Steve Bartman, a little league coach and diehard Cub fan the villian? Was it the aftermath? Was it Moises Alou's temper tantrum? Was it the turtleneck?
It was the turtleneck, wasn't it?
If that were any other fan in that seat, they would have stuck their hands out toward it. Bartman was a victim of being a baseball fan. According to Rule 6.01 section E, if a player has to reach over and out of the field of play, he does so at his own risk and no interference shall be ruled.
Umpire Mike Everitt got the call right, the Wrigley Faithful did not. They forced the man out of watching the team and game that he loves for the past 14 years after doing nothing wrong.
Luckily for Bartman, next year finally came. The Cubs beat the Indians in the 2016 World Series, snapping a 108 year title drought. As for Bartman, he hasn't shown his face since that October night, scared of what would happen. He has declined interviews, endorsement deals, and paid returns to the friendly (or unfriendly) confines of Wrigley Field.
I don't like the idea of non-team personnel getting World Series rings, or any championship ring for that matter, but I could see why they gave it to Bartman. By doing so, the Cubs are trying to mend a broken relationship that has lingered for over a decade. It is a nice gesture, but is it too little too late?