Chicago Cubs fans have waited 108 years for Friday’s World Series championship parade that will go through the city, so it’s fair to think that we’re talking millions of people will be along the parade route as Joe Maddon, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Kris Bryant and the rest of the squad show off the team’s new trophy. It will be the greatest parade in the city’s history since Ferris Bueller hijacked a float to sing “Twist and Shout,” but one person that probably won’t be there to see it (unless he goes incognito and just blends in with the crowd, which is totally possible) is Steve Bartman.
Bartman, the person who fans have used as an excuse for the team’s 2003 playoff collapse after he reached out for a foul ball that Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou was attempting to catch, issued a statement through Frank Murtha, a lawyer who has served as Bartman’s spokesman. “We don’t intend to crash the parade,” Murtha said. “The one thing that Steve and I did talk about was, if the Cubs were to win, he did not want to be a distraction to the accomplishments of the players and the organization.”
The Steve Bartman incident was another in a series of unfortunate events that fans of the team have used to try and rationalize the fact that the team couldn’t win a title for over a century. Black cats and goats had been blamed along the way, but Bartman, a born-and-raised Cubs fan from the Chicago suburbs, unfortunately became the living embodiment of Cubs fans’ frustrations to the point where he had to go into hiding.
The general feeling among most fans is that all is forgiven, while others (this writer included) believe Bartman was unfairly vilified. Bartman, after becoming infamous in the early 2000s, went out of his way to stay out of sight. He didn’t want to do interviews, didn’t sign some massive book deal to tell his side of the story and didn’t come out of the shadows as the Cubs fortunes looked to be changing. This latest chapter, with Bartman saying he doesn’t want to take any of the spotlight away from the team he loves, should show Cubs fans once and for all that they’ve been very wrong about Steve Bartman.
Chicago Cubs celebrate after winning in the 2016 World Series.