Winning helps Chicago Cubs fans forgive Bartman 12 years later

Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:02pm EDT
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By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - It turns out that winning really might cure everything, and with the Chicago Cubs' playoff triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, that even includes a decade-plus grudge Cubs fans have held against "Bartman."

That would be Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan scapegoated for a missed catch by a Chicago outfielder in a playoff game in 2003 when the team was tantalizingly close to reaching its first World Series since 1945.

Bartman has stayed quiet during this year's playoffs and in fact has said little publicly since incurring the wrath of fans who blamed his interference with a foul ball late in the 2003 game for sparking a Cubs collapse that ended with the Florida Marlins reaching the promised land instead.

The Cubs' 6-4 win on Tuesday, which advanced the Cubs to the National League Championship Series to face the winner of the New York Mets-Los Angeles Dodgers series, has the team's fans hoping this will finally be their year. The last time the "lovable losers" won it all was in 1908.

This year's success and confidence about the next few years, has Cubs-crazy fans saying it is time to put the Bartman incident in the past, along with the team's long-losing record.

Euphoric fans who gathered outside Wrigley Field after Tuesday's victory said they were over the curses of the past - including Bartman - but were unwilling to actually utter his name. One of them, Warren Baker, 57, praised manager Joe Maddon for the win.

"Rather than thinking about curses or the failures of yesterday, (Maddon) got them where they need to be," Baker said.

Michael Burke, 22, said: "After what we've been through in the past, I was scared of the Cardinals. But now we've beaten them. We've got this, we've got this."   Continued...

Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan scapegoated for a missed catch in a 2003 playoff game, sits in the stands in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series in Chicago, October 14, 2003. REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson