Give the Guy A BreakAfter all these years, I still get frustrated when I think about that 8-run eighth inning. If you're a Chicago Cubs fan, you know the exact moment I'm talking about - Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series. The Cubs were up 3-0, and were five outs away from winning the franchise's first National League pennant since 1945. Not once did I blame the fan for interfering. That's when the flood gates opened and the Florida Marlins never looked back. The Marlins won the game 8-3. Since so many seasons have passed, I wish people would stop blaming Steve Bartman for that foul ball.
Today, the Chicago Tribune reported that a new documentary by ESPN Films will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. The film Catching Hell shines a spotlight on that pivotal moment in Game 6. The film, according to a festival news release, "explores the psychology of die-hard sports fans, the frightening phenomenon of scapegoating, and the hysteria that turned mild-mannered Bartman into the most hated man in Chicago."
Did Bartman interfere with the play? Yes. I think most fans will agree. But that foul ball didn't cause Alex Gonzalez to boot the ball at shortstop. That didn't make Dusty Baker leave Mark Prior on the mound too long. That didn't cause Mark Prior to go soft in the head and effectively ruin his career. And it certainly didn't cause the Cubs to lose Game 7 the following night.
Will I give in and watch the documentary on television? Probably. Eventually. But I wish people would allow Bartman to live his life. I feel horrible for the guy.