Bartman still casts a shadow over Cubs a decade later

BartmanChicagoans and local media haven’t forgotten – maybe we’d be better off if they did

Remember when the word “Bartman” meant a silly dance (and song) from Bart Simpson?

Even yours truly would yearn for its reemergence.

Since October 14, 2003, the name “Bartman” has been synonymous with Steve Bartman interfering with then-Chicago Cub Moises Alou, causing the team to lose Game 6 (or so a few say) of the National League Championship Series to the Florida (now Miami) Marlins, which went on to win their last World Series to date, beating the New York Yankees (of course, the Marlins have had their own share of fiascoes since, making their two World Series championships a distant memory.)

Some in Chicago media were ruthless in their coverage of the incident, indirectly blaming Bartman for the Cubs loss. Of course, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood (who started Game 7) didn’t do their fair share to win for the Cubs, but Bartman’s the one who will already remembered for costing the Cubs’ chance to go the the World Series.

And now, ten years later, the media – local and national – still won’t leave the subject – or the man – alone.

And if you think interest in the subject has waned – think again. The tenth anniversary of this “event” has spawned two documentaries – one on ESPN, the other on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. It’s the constant topic of conversation on blogs. I’ve seen more tweets on Bartman in the last week than I’ve seen about Bart Simpson in the last four and a-half-years.

Give it a rest already.

Steve Bartman was unfairly vilified by a fanbase, local media, meathead sports-talk callers (and hosts) and others for doing something a lot of fans at baseball games naturally do – reach for a foul ball. Unfortunately, it was at a pivotal time for the Cubs as they were five outs away from going to the World Series. Blaming it on Bartman was ridiculous then, as it is now.

Of course, this continued to be talked about to death – just like another subject most Chicagoans are sick of.

Just two weeks ago, Sun-Times columnist and Jay Mariotti wanna-be imbecile Neil Steinberg lambasted Oprah Winfrey in a pathetic front-page column, two years after her talk show ended and four years after her announcement she was retiring from the daily grind. Once again, this proves Chicago media refuses to moves on from anything – its like beating a dead horse over and over again, appealing only to those who won’t forgive. Its little wonder why the public hates members of the media so much – but it doesn’t matter to them, as long as we keep reading, listening, and watching –  and so they can speed to the bank fast enough to cash the check.

You can bet CSN Chicago is licking their chops over 5 Outs, the documentary set to air after the Blackhawks game Tuesday night. Judging by the hype, you’d think CSN would get Walking Dead-type Nielsen numbers for this program (they won’t.)

And just think: come 2023, we’ll be talking about the 20th anniversary of the Bartman incident. I’ll mark the date on my calendar.  Maybe the Cubs will finally win a World Series by then and maybe everyone will stop talking about Bartman.

In either case… nah

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