After 14 years, Steve Bartman and the Chicago Cubs have found closure. In a story reported by WGN, the Cubs announced that Bartman will receive a 2016 World Series ring.
The Cubs released a statement on the decision.
“On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship Ring to Mr. Steve Bartman,” the Cubs’ statement to WGN read. “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. 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. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today.”
Bartman was front and center in one of baseball’s most infamous incidents during the 2003 NLCS. In trying to catch a foul ball, he got in the way of a leaping Moises Alou. Following that, a series of Cubs errors opened the floodgates, turning a potential pennant-clinching win into a crushing loss in the game and ultimately, the series. Bartman had spent more than a decade as a convenient scapegoat.
Bartman also released a statement. In it, he asked for continued privacy and stated that he won’t be granting interviews. But he also expressed gratitude for the Cubs.
“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring,” he said, via WGN. “I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations.”
Bartman received far too much blame for the 2003 collapse. The worst that anyone can say about his action was that it indirectly led to one runner reaching base. Given that Alou was a below-average outfielder at that time of his career, even that’s a reach. Bartman had nothing to do with an error on what should have been an inning-ending double play, the entire rally that followed or anything that happened in Game 6. Yet, he still received more than a decade’s worth of scorn.
This is a nice gesture on behalf of the Cubs. Bartman has never done anything to seek publicity. Now that this goodwill gesture has been reached and Chicago has it’s long awaited World Series, it’s truly time to leave this incident in the past.