(Steve Bartman, pictured, is welcome back at Wrigley).
Starting tomorrow, Cub fans looking for easy answers and scapegoats for our 100 Years of Solitude no longer have Steve Bartman to kick around anymore. The Cubs officially pardoned him from guilt in an October 14th 2003 blown play, hung on him when Moises Alou did not make a catch. That the Cubs and Alou got around to it after five years of death threats, ridicule, and misery heaped on the poor guy is a bit much, but hopefully they will immediately award Bartman lifetime season tickets to US Cellular Field.
That said, feel free, for the last time, to blame Steve Bartman for today’s 8-2 Cub loss to the Brewers.
(Bartman, seen here entering baseball history, in endlessly looped footage, courtesy of Abe Zapruder)
As the Cubs’ Carrie Muskat reports:
Steve Bartman can come out now. Moises Alou says he couldn’t have caught the popup with which Bartman, a Cubs fan attending Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, was criticized for interfering.
First baseman Derrek Lee, who was playing for the Florida Marlins at the time, didn’t think Alou could catch it either ….
“Everywhere I play, even now, people still yell, ‘Bartman, Bartman,'” Alou said. “I feel really bad.
“You know what the funny thing is? I wouldn’t have caught it anyway.”
Nearly everyone at the game thought the same thing.
“I thought it was very questionable [that Alou could’ve caught it],” said Cubs TV broadcaster Len Kasper, who was on the Marlins broadcast team at the time.
“I don’t think he would’ve caught it,” Lee said. “I don’t see how you could ever blame Bartman. He didn’t lean over the fence over the field. To me, it wasn’t even an issue. To me, he would’ve had to jump high into the stands.”