Cubs ex­tend olive branch, in di­a­monds

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - Com­piled by Jeff Krup­saw

It took nearly 14 years, but es­tranged fan Steve Bart­man and the Chicago Cubs have made up.

No re­ports of a kiss, but the Cubs — in a pri­vate cer­e­mony Mon­day in the of­fice of owner Tom Rick­etts — pre­sented Bart­man with a 2016 world cham­pi­onship ring.

Bart­man’s name is en­graved on it. The Cubs re­leased a sin­gle photo of Bart­man’s ring.

WGN TV in Chicago re­ports Bart­man re­ceived the ring be­fore noon in the pres­ence of Rick­etts, Cubs Pres­i­dent of Base­ball Op­er­a­tions Theo Epstein and Pres­i­dent of Op­er­a­tions Crane Ken­ney.

Rick­etts then showed Bart­man around Wrigley so he could see what was new since he’d last been to the park.

Bart­man has lived in in­famy ever since Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, af­ter be­ing cast as a scape­goat when he reached for a ball that left fielder Moises Alou thought he could catch.

Alou threw a tantrum, and TV cam­eras fo­cused on Bart­man, who be­came an easy tar­get of ire with his long-sleeved turtle­neck and head­phones strapped over his Cubs cap when the team fell apart af­ter the foul ball.

The Cubs lost Game 6, then Game 7, pre­vent­ing them from reach­ing the World Se­ries for the first time in 58 years.

Bart­man went into hid­ing. Nu­mer­ous ar­ti­cles were writ­ten about Bart­man over the years, and he was the sub­ject of an ESPN 30 for 30 doc­u­men­tary in 2011.

Mean­while, Bart­man avoided the news me­dia, de­clin­ing in­ter­view re­quests and com­mer­cial of­fers.

The Cubs and Bart­man each is­sued state­ments.

The Cubs said they “hope this pro­vides clo­sure on an un­for­tu­nate chap­ter” and Bart­man “con­tin­ues to be fully em­braced by this or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Bart­man re­leased a state­ment say­ing he is “deeply moved and sin­cerely grate­ful.” He praised the Cubs own­ers — the Rick­etts fam­ily — and man­age­ment, and he called the ring a re­minder of “how we should treat each other in to­day’s so­ci­ety.”

No word on whether there will be a cer­e­mony on Wrigley Field, or whether Bart­man will throw out the first pitch for an up­com­ing Cubs game.

Hawk has his say

Long­time Chicago White Sox broad­caster “Hawk” Har­rel­son has never held back on the air, and last week Har­rel­son paid no heed to the PC po­lice af­ter Chicago Cubs pitcher John Lackey hit three White Sox bat­ters in one in­ning of Tues­day’s game at Wrigley Field.

The game, part of the Crosstown Cup ri­valry, was tele­vised on the MLB Network and the White Sox were pro­vid­ing the com­men­tary, with Har­rel­son and side­kick Steve Stone.

Here is some of what Har­rel­son said af­ter first base­man Jose Abreu was hit for the sec­ond time.

“That’s enough of that, Lackey! That’s enough of that BS. Let’s see which one of your boys is go­ing to get drilled — or maybe you.

“You can bet your sweet bippy some­one on that team’s gonna get drilled on the Cubs. … Let’s see, when does Lackey hit.”

A few bat­ters later Lackey hit Matt Davidson and then fol­lowed by plunk­ing Yoan Mon­cada – two of the White Sox younger prospects.

“It’s only a mat­ter of time, buddy,” Har­rel­son said. “In fact, I’d like to see one hit right back through the mid­dle knock Lackey right off that mound.

“Or just get him af­ter the game, that way no­body can break it up.”

Lackey came to the plate in the bot­tom of the fifth, but with two run­ners on base in a 4-2 game, the White Sox did not re­tal­i­ate.

“Too bad some­body was on,” Har­rel­son said.

The Associated Press

Four­teen years af­ter be­ing cast as a scape­goat for his role in the Chicago Cubs’ 8-3 loss to the Florida Mar­lins in Game 6 of the 2003 Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries, Steve Bart­man was given a World Se­ries ring by Cubs own­er­ship Mon­day at Wrigley Field.

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