14 years after Steve Bartman became the most-hated man in Chicago for seemingly robbing the Cubs of an opportunity to advance to the World Series, one of the biggest scapegoats in sports history has officially been let off the hook.
In 2003, the Cubs had a 3-2 series lead over the Marlins and a 3-0 lead in game-six when Bartman interfered with a foul ball. That single play appeared to turn the game, and ultimately the series, around. The Cubs lost the game and then dropped the series.
In the 14 years that followed, Bartman lived a quiet life out of the public eye. He received threats from fans and had to live in sports infamy.
But everything changed last October when the Cubs finally won their first World Series in 108 years, and yesterday (Monday), the team officially confirmed that he is off the hook by presenting him with his very own official World Series ring.
The team announced, "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 responded with his own statement that reads, "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." (Chicago Tribune)