Cubs extend olive branch, in diamonds
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.
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.