Cubs give Bart­man a World Se­ries ring

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - VIC­TOR MATHER

Steve Bart­man in­no­cently reached up for a foul ball in 2003. He soon was the most re­viled sports fan in the United States, with many peo­ple say­ing his act had cost the Chicago Cubs a chance at a long-elu­sive Ma­jor League Base­ball cham­pi­onship.

In 2016, the Cubs fi­nally did win the ti­tle, af­ter a 108year wait. And now, eight months af­ter that his­toric achieve­ment, Bart­man has re­ceived a World Se­ries ring, said WGN-TV.

“We hope this pro­vides clo­sure on an un­for­tu­nate chap­ter of the story that has per­pet­u­ated through­out our quest to win a long-awaited World Se­ries,” the team said in a state­ment pro­vided to WGN. “While no ges­ture can fully lift the pub­lic bur­den he has en­dured for more than a decade, we felt it was im­por­tant Steve knows he has been and con­tin­ues to be fully em­braced by this or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

In his own state­ment, Bart­man said, “Al­though I do not con­sider my­self wor­thy of such an hon­our, I am deeply moved and sin­cerely grate­ful.”

“My hope is that we all can learn from my ex­pe­ri­ence to view sports as en­ter­tain­ment and pre­vent harsh scape­goat­ing,” he added.

Bart­man, a fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant, was seated in the front row at Wrigley Field for Game 6 of the 2003 Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries.

The Cubs were ahead, 3-0, in the eighth in­ning at Wrigley Field — need­ing just five more outs to make it to the World Se­ries for the first time in 58 years — when Bart­man reached for and de­flected a foul ball hit by Luis Castillo of the Mar­lins that Cubs left fielder Moises Alou seemed to have a good chance to catch. The Mar­lins went on to score eight runs in the in­ning and win the game, and amid abuse from fans, Bart­man was es­corted from the park.

The next night, the Mar­lins won Game 7 at Wrigley and went on to win the World Se­ries, too. Bart­man ef­fec­tively went into hid­ing.

Bart­man’s de­fend­ers pointed out that he was act­ing in­stinc­tively in reach­ing for the foul ball and that his ac­tion did not cause the Cubs to sur­ren­der all those runs in the in­ning — an er­ror on a po­ten­tial dou­ble­play grounder was the big­gest mishap — or lose the next night. Bart­man did apol­o­gize af­ter the in­ci­dent, but the sub­ject of an ESPN 30 for 30 doc­u­men­tary in 2011 scrupu­lously avoided the news me­dia, de­clin­ing in­ter­view re­quests and com­mer­cial of­fers.

On Mon­day, he re­turned to Wrigley to re­ceive his ring, his ex­ile of­fi­cially over.

CHICAGO CUBS VIA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pic­ture­dis a 2016 World Se­ries cham­pi­onship ring the Cubs an­nounced Mon­day they were giv­ing to Steve Bart­man.

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Bart­man de­flects the foul ball in front of Moises Alou.

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