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Today is the seven-year anniversary of the 'Bartman game'

Oct 14, 2010, 1:39 AM EDT

After a miserable season for the Cubs, I’m sure those Chicago fans who follow them have already moved on to worrying about the Bears, the Bulls and maybe even the Blackhawks.

Speaking of people who would probably like to move on but can’t, today is the seven-year anniversary of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, otherwise known as the ‘Bartman game.’

In case you’ve spent the last seven years spelunking, that was the night that diehard Cubs fan Steve Bartman did what many fans would do — he reached out to catch a foul ball. Only in Bartman’s case, his reaction unwittingly prevented Cubs outfielder Moises Alou from doing the same, setting into motion a chain of events that would spark a horrific Cubbies meltdown and — perhaps even worse on a karmic level — lead the Florida Marlins to their second World Series title.

Despite the fact that the Cubs fell apart faster than Brett Favre’s reputation, it was Bartman, not the team, who was blamed. And except for the briefest of glimpses, he hasn’t been heard from since.

From Paul Sullivan:

Bartman never has spoken publicly about his infamous moment in Cubs’ history, though he apologized the next day and the Cubs issued a statement absolving him. Cubs fans, for the most part, have forgiven Bartman, directing the blame toward shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who made a crucial error, or starter Mark Prior, who became unraveled.

But fair or not, Bartman’s legacy remains intact, perpetuated by the national media.

Whether you want to blame the national media, Alex Gonzalez, Cubs fans, Jenn Sterger, Babe Ruth, A.J. Burnett or a billy goat, Steve Bartman will forever be a part of baseball history. Just like Bill Buckner and Ralph Terry. Just like Brooks Conrad. It’s unfortunate, but it happens, and it’s never going to go away.

According to Sullivan, ESPN was supposed to air a Bartman documentary before the 2010 World Series as part of their “30-30” series, but the filmmaker, Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney, asked for it to be pushed back a year.

Maybe he’s trying to get Bartman to talk? I don’t know. But I do know that I would like to see Bartman emerge to tell the story from his point of view. I would be willing to bet he would garner a lot of sympathy at this point, seven years removed from the infamous night.

But for now we’ll just have to remember the night for what it was: a gift for the Marlins, heartbreak for the Cubs, and an unforgettable night for baseball fans, no matter who they were rooting for.

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  1. Old Gator - Oct 14, 2010 at 7:53 AM

    Having never made a mistake myself, I can sympathize with Steve Bartman out of my impregnable generosity of spirit. The real karmic implosion was that the Feesh’s series victory convinced Tightwad Titan Scrooge McLoria that if you’re smart enough you could win big while winning cheap. Problem is, Scrooge McLoria isn’t smart enough, and the credit that accrued exclusively to his very own Karl Rove, one Larry Beinfest, consistently failed to take into account that that Feesh team still had Dave Dombrowski’s fingerprints all over it.
    There were some other terrific ironies too: Moises Alou had been instrumental in the Feesh’s 1997 series triumph over the Cleveland Aborigines. What is not well known, though, is that it was Alou’s aftershave, not the snowstorm, that kept the bugs off the field.

  2. J Gravy - Oct 14, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    As a Cubs fan, I don’t wish any harm to this poor guy, but I wouldn’t mind if his girl’s phone rang every time he was about to get some.

  3. CYGNUS X-1 - Oct 14, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    maybe he would not be part of baseball lore if people like you would not bring this up every year.honestly how many people other than you or realy diehard cub fans woke today thinking about that game or that today was the date it happened 7 years ago?how is this guy ever going to allowed a normal life if people like you keep bringing it up?how about you keep giving that kid who interfered in the yankee orioles playoff game a few years ago more pub? that cost the orioles the series and from what I remember unlike bartman he was proud of what he did and loved all the other words why don’t you and the media let it go?most fans outside of chicago don’t care!

  4. gerryb323 - Oct 14, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Anyone else find it interesting that just 7 years ago we were already on GAME 6 of a LCS???
    We haven’t even started either LCS today!

  5. Old Gator - Oct 14, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Entropy. Cosmic expansion is slowing down. Pretty soon – like, um, election day – we all start moving backwards.

  6. Mr. Heyward - Oct 14, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    In related news, it’s been 20 years since the debut of “Do the Bartman”

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