This I Believe

Kevin - Burr Ridge, Illinois
Entered on February 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

In modern American society, tragedies are a part of everyday life. The story of Steve Bartman is a modern American tragedy, and I believe in his innocence. For one century minus one year, a draught has plagued the Chicago Cubs. It has been since 1908 since my Cubbies have captured Major League Baseball’s most coveted title, a World Series. However, the Chicago Cubs in 2003 had their shot, but ever since the sixth game of the National League Championship Series, one man has constantly been used as a scapegoat. His name is Steve Bartman, and he is innocent. This I believe.

The sad story of Steve Bartman begins on October 14, 2003, during the sixth game in the NLCS. The Chicago Cubs were hosting the Florida Marlins. The Cubs were winning the series 3-2, and were up 3-0 in the top of the eighth. There was one out, and Louis Castillo sends a fly ball down the left field side. Moises Alou jumped for the ball going into the stands. Bartman, a loyal Cub fan, leapt for the foul ball. Apparently, Bartman “interfered” and Alou could not make the catch. Alou lit up in frustration and argued for fan interference. The ball was ruled foul, and interference was overruled. Bartman was now the scapegoat of the Cubs’ woe.

The Cubs were five outs away from a World Series appearance. However, the minds of the Cubs were elsewhere. If Alex Gonzalez would have made a routine double play out of a regular ground ball, who knows if the world would be remembering Bartman. How could two losses be blamed on one man, let alone a fan over a player? He did what every other fan would have done by reaching for the foul ball. I know I would have done the exact same thing. So why am I not blamed? The fans around him reached for the ball. It could have been anyone, and instantly they would be seared into the memories of bitter Cubs fans. Bartman was attacked relentlessly by Cubs fans for the loss of that game. Five outs and the Cubs could have been in the World Series.

What if I was Steve Bartman? Well, I would have to go under protection of the state, have my identity changed over three times, live a life in constant fear from death threats, and live with the shame of “ruining” the Cubs chances at a World Series. I would be the sport nation’s hottest topic for two years, and I would constantly see the foul ball incident replayed on ESPN for weeks straight. I believe no one deserves that and only the Cubs are to blame for their loss. The fans and the media crushed the life of one man, and I am convinced Steve Bartman is innocent. This I believe.