Steve BartmanSteve Bartman
is a Chicago
resident who became famous on the evening of October 14
for interfering with a foul pop-up in a game involving the Chicago Cubs
He was sitting in the front row on the leftfield wall when a pop fly
drifted toward his seat. Cubs leftfielder Moises Alou was in position to
attempt a catch, but Bartman hadn't noticed and blocked the ball from Alou's glove.
Immediately following his action the Florida Marlins went on a scoring binge and turned the game around with eight unanswered runs. Many Cub fans blamed Bartman for the Cubs losing this game and, ultimately, their chance at clinching a World Series berth.
Some in the news media were more considerate. Surveys done in the days following the incident showed that online news sources were almost unanimous in their call
to forgive Bartman and urged fans to consider that one play couldn't account for
eight runs in one inning, though considering the importance of the play it may have done just that.
Immediately following the incident, the Chicago Sun-Times released Bartman's name, age, address, and place of business in an online article. Bartman was subsequently hounded by reporters, shut off
his phone and didn't go to work. In his defense, childhood neighbors reported that he was a great guy, a lifelong Cubs fan and a little league coach.
The Cubs issued the following press release:
- ''The Chicago Cubs would like to thank our fans for their tremendous outpouring of support this year. We are very grateful.
- ''We would also like to remind everyone that games are decided by what happens on the playing field—not in the stands. It is inaccurate and unfair to suggest that an individual fan is responsible for the events that transpired in Game 6. He did what every fan who comes to the ballpark tries to do—catch a foul ball in the stands. That's one of the things that makes baseball the special sport that it is.
- This was an exciting season and we're looking forward to working towards an extended run of October baseball at Wrigley Field.
In the days following the incident, Bartman was offered and given goods and services from many sources. These ranged from gifts given out of sympathy for the negative press he received to those by Marlins fans or Florida residents as a sort of 'thank you'. He also received offers to do movies or talk shows because of his sudden celebrity status. By October 24, he had made a point of declining all such offers, and donated any such gifts already given to him to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the name of Ron Santo
, a Cubs third baseman afflicted with the disease. Calling this his 'final statement', it seemed clear Bartman intended to fall back to obscurity.
Bartman said, "I look forward to, and expect to return to my normal life activities, including cheering our beloved Cubs toward many more exciting postseasons of play."