Justin Dukes covers the Chicago Cubs and their developments for
With the often-promised turning point to the season that Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon finally materializing, it appears that the Cubs latest off the field gesture represents a collective exhale from the team.
Linked forever with the 108-year absence of a Cubs World Series title, fan Steve Bartman has just been issued a championship ring by the organization.
“On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series championship ring to Mr. Steve Bartman,” said the Cubs in a statement earlier this week.
“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.”
For those unaware, Bartman, in attendance of the 2003 National League Championship Series between the Cubs and the Florida Marlins interfered with a foul ball attempting to be caught by outfielder Moises Alou by trying to make the catch himself while having not broken into the field of play. Ever since, Bartman has been the scapegoat for yet another blown grand opportunity to capture a World series title.
Fanfare can be a very fickle element to sports. Often times you hear cliché lines like “You can’t win ‘em all,” “there’s always next year,”and in this case, “…games are never won or lost on one play.”
It is frequently overlooked that the Cubs blew the lead in that game along with Game 7 of the World Series, but it has been way more convenient to peg Bartman as one of the proverbial straws that broke the camel’s back. Ineptitude on the field has been a given, but another cog to plug into the whole curse theory was just what fans needed jeers.
Predictably, Bartman expressed his own gratitude for the gesture and called it a big step in the healing process, but also acknowledged his awareness for his role as scapegoat in this situation.
With his name engraved into the side of the ring, the symbolism in all of this is that the Cubs can finally move on from this, but assuredly the fans will not.
Like it or not, Bartman is a part of the team’s history, which everyone can sit back and objectively gaze upon now that this incident is just that, history.
With Jake Arrieta having one of his best games of the season to only be nullified by a poor showing by the offense in a loss to the Arizona D-Backs on Wednesday, followed by a rain-soaked Thursday loss that saw Jose Quintana knocked around early to the Cubs’ detriment, the Cubs still hold a 1 ½ game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the division.
The Cubs now look to assert themselves again as a National League contender by taking on the presumptive NL East-champion Washington Nationals this weekend.
Justin Dukes is a Chicago-based sports writer, follow him on Twitter @1kingzdream; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio