If you thought Steve Bartman’s name would disappear from the baseball world once the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, you were (sadly) straight-up wrong. And former Cubs outfielder Moises Alou is one of those people.
Alou, the left fielder that Bartman made contact with on the foul ball at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, told the media on Monday how he was “very happy” about the Cubs winning the World Series, and added that part of the reason he was very happy was because he “thought they might finally stop talking about that play” (via the Chicago Sun-Times):
“I was very happy,” he said of the Cubs’ championship. “I was very happy for the city of Chicago. And I was very happy because I thought they might finally stop talking about that play. But they didn’t.”
He laughed as he remembered he was at an event about the WBC.
“We’re still talking about Bartman, and the Cubs won,” he said. “Does Bill Buckner still get [asked about the 1986 World Series error]?”
“Yeah? Oh, my God,” he muttered. “OK. I’m mentally prepared now.”
The championship continues to give Bartman attention, granted the attention ever since Chicago won its first pennant since 1945 has been well-meaning. After years of hate directed toward the fan who prevented the Cubs (but really didn’t) from reaching the 2003 World Series, the organization is trying to make amends.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts hopes to invite Bartman to a game at Wrigley Field in 2017, and have him throw a ceremonial first pitch, for “closure”.
Alou supports that idea (note: after being asked about it by the media), saying he would attend that game, and would “like to meet Bartman”:
Moises Alou, the left fielder whose angry gestures and pleas over Bartman’s Game 6 deflection of a foul ball made Bartman famous in 2003, said he’ll even make time to attend any ceremony the Cubs might stage in tribute to Bartman.
“I think that would be good,” Alou said, adding he still thinks he would have made the catch had Bartman not tried to catch the ball. ““I have nothing against the guy.”
“Why not? I’d like to meet Bartman,” said Alou, who, 13 years later, still gets stopped by fans over that play that preceded an eighth-inning meltdown in that National League Championship Series game.
Bartman remained a dedicated fan of the team, albeit in private, after being ostracized by the entire fan base for doing what every fan does when a foul ball nears the stands. On that very play, several other fans in the first few rows reached for the ball. The ball just happened to land near Bartman instead of the others.
The Cubs held a 3-2 lead in the series and led 3-0 when the Bartman play occurred in Game 6. An error by shortstop Alex Gonzalez later that inning allowed the Florida Marlins to extend the eighth inning and score eight runs. The Marlins won the game 8-3 and went on to win Game 7 and the World Series as well.
But now the Cubs are world champions, and it’s time for the media and fans to let this Bartman story go, as Alou most certainly agrees.