Steve Bartman Gets Cubs’ World Series Ring — Does He Deserve It? [POLL]
One of the most controversial figures in baseball history is getting some bling.
Steve Bartman, the man who got in the way of a foul ball Cubs outfielder Moises Alou tried to track down and catch during Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, has received a World Series ring from the organization, reports WGN.
Alou, of course, didn't catch the ball, and the Marlins managed to come back and win the series before going on to win the World Series and keeping the Cubs streak of failing to claim the Fall Classic at 95 years -- a streak that stayed intact until the Cubs won it all last year.
Bartman was often cited as the reason the Cubs lost the series, torturing an already suffering fanbase and franchise. He took a lot of heat, although over the last few years opinion had shifted somewhat that he was unfairly made the scapegoat.
The club awarded the ring to Bartman on Monday from owner Tom Ricketts, team president Theo Epstein and president of operations Crane Kenney:
The Cubs released a statement on the decision to present Bartman with the ring.
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, who has managed to remain out of the public eye since the 2003 incident (a real accomplishment in the Internet era), also had some kind words for the franchise, saying, he was honored and hopes this brings closure to all that he has endured:
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. 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. Most meaningful is the genuine outreach from the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organization and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.
I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society. My hope is that we all can learn from my experience to view sports as entertainment and prevent harsh scapegoating, and to challenge the media and opportunistic profiteers to conduct business ethically by respecting personal privacy rights and not exploit any individual to advance their own self-interest or economic gain.
Moreover, I am hopeful this ring gesture will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved. To that end, I request the media please respect my privacy, and the privacy of my family. I will not participate in interviews or further public statements at this time.
Words alone cannot express my heartfelt thanks to the Ricketts family, Crane Kenney, Theo Epstein, and the entire Cubs organization for this extraordinary gift, and for providing the City of Chicago and Cubs fans everywhere an unforgettable World Championship in 2016. I am happy to be reunited with the Cubs family and positively moving forward with my life."
The decision to honor Bartman rings familiar. The Red Sox reached out to Bill Buckner after they broke the Curse of the Bambino and finally won the World Series. His return to Fenway was bittersweet, since his error in letting ball through his legs in the 1986 World Series played a huge role in the team's losing that series.