Eleven years ago, baseball history and an innocent fan's life changed forever

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Eleven years ago, baseball history and an innocent fan's life changed forever
Chicago Cubs left fielder Moises Alou reaches into the stands unsuccessfully for a foul ball tipped by fan Steve Bartman against the Florida Marlins in the eighth inning during Game 6 of the National League championship series in an Oct. 14, 2003, file photo at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Marlins won the series and went on to beat the New York Yankees in the World Series. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
In this Oct. 14, 2003 file photo, Chicago Cubs left fielder Moises Alou falls back after unsuccessfully reaching into the stands for a foul ball against the Florida Marlins in the eighth inning during Game 6 of the National League championship series at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The ball was caught by spectator, Steve Bartman, shown with his arms out wearing headphones and a Cubs hat. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
In this Oct. 14, 2003 file photo, Chicago Cubs left fielder Moises Alou's arm is seen reaching into the stands, at right, unsuccessfully for a foul ball along with a fan identified as Steve Bartman, left, wearing headphones, glasses and Cubs hat, during the eighth inning against the Florida Marlins in Game 6 of the National League Championship Seriesin Chicago. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
The infamous cursed Chicago Cubs foul baseball from the 2003 National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins on display in it's last intact resting place at Harry Caray's Restaurant before being destroyed on February 26, 2004 in Chicago, Illinois. The alleged curse comes from a play during the NLCS where Luis Castillo of the Marlins hit a foul ball that Cubs fan Steve Bartman touched. This prevented Cubs' leftfielder Moises Alou from catching the ball which would have been the 2nd out of the 8th inning, instead the Marlins started a rally and went on to win the game, which forced a game 7 that the Marlins also won, on their way to becoming World Series Champs. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Actor/Director Harold Ramis emcees an auction to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation before the ceremony to destroy the cursed Chicago Cubs baseball on February 26, 2004 at Harry Caray's Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. The alleged curse comes from a play during the NLCS where Luis Castillo of the Marlins hit a foul ball that Cubs fan Steve Bartman touched. This prevented Cubs' leftfielder Moises Alou from catching the ball which would have been the 2nd out of the 8th inning, instead the Marlins started a rally and went on to win the game, which forced a game 7 that the Marlins also won, on their way to becoming World Series Champs. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
A baseball sits inside a case moments before being blown up Thursday, February 26, 2004 in Chicago. The baseball was deflected by a fan during the Chicago Cubs' loss in Game 6 of the 2003 National League championship series against the Florida Marlins and blown up to help Cubs fans forget about the loss. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Oscar-winning special effects technician Michael Lantieri gets a look at his work after successfully blowing up a baseball for Cubs fans Thursday, February 26, 2004, in Chicago. The baseball was deflected by a fan during the Chicago Cubs' loss in Game 6 of the 2003 National League championship series against the Florida Marlins and blown up to help Cubs fans forget about the incident. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
CHICAGO - FEBURARY 26: Smoke, chards and thread at the bottom of a bullet proof container are all that is left of the cursed Chicago Cubs baseball after it was destroyed on February 26, 2004 at Harry Caray's Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. The alleged curse comes from a play during the NLCS where Luis Castillo of the Marlins hit a foul ball that Cubs fan Steve Bartman touched. This prevented Cubs' leftfielder Moises Alou from catching the ball which would have been the 2nd out of the 8th inning, instead the Marlins started a rally and went on to win the game, which forced a game 7 that the Marlins also won, on their way to becoming World Series Champs. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Cubs fans show their support as the Florida Marlins take on the Chicago Cubs in game four of the National League Championship Series on October 11, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Cubs defeated the Marlins 8-3 to take a 3-1 series lead. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Starting pitcher Mark Prior #22 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Florida Marlins during game two of the National League Championship Series October 8, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Nate Bump #40 of the Florida Marlins throws against the Chicago Cubs in the third inning of game two of the National League Championship Series on October 8, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Marlins 12-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Shortstop Mark Grudzielanek #11 of the Chicago Cubs gets knocked over by Miguel Cabrera #20 of the Florida Marlins in game five of the National League Championship Series on October 12, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Cubs 4-0 and the Cubs lead the series 3-2. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Alex Gonzalez of the Florida Marlins makes a play from his knees during the Marlins 8-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs in game 6 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Sporting News via Getty Images)
Todd Hollandsworth of the Florida Marlins slides home safely ahead of the tag by the Cubs Paul Bako during the Marlins 8-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs in game 6 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Sporting News via Getty Images)
Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Florida Marlins celebrates after scoring in the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs during Game 6 of the National League Championship Series October 14, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Starting pitcher Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs confers with teammates Damian Miller #27 and Alex Gonzalez #8 in the fifth inning against the Florida Marlins during game seven of the National League Championship Series October 15, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
A Chicago Cubs fan trys to maintain hope as he watches through a window across the street from Wrigley Field as the Cubs play the Florida Marlins during game seven of the National League Championship Series October 15, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A preacher fan of the Chicago Cubs says a prayer during the Cubs 9-6 loss to the Florida Marlins in game 7 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Sporting News via Getty Images)
Closer Ugueth Urbina #74 of the Florida Marlins celbrates with catcher Ivan Rodriguez #7 after the final out against the Chicago Cubs during game seven of the National League Championship Series October 15, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The marlins defeated the Cubs 9-6 to advance to the World Series. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Florida Marlins celebrate their 9-6 win over the Chicago Cubs during game seven of the National League Championship Series October 15, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Members of the Florida Marlins celebrate their 9-6 win over the Chicago Cubs during game seven of the National League Championship Series October 15, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Aramis Ramirez of the Chicago Cubs during the Cubs 9-6 loss to the Florida Marlins in game 7 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Sporting News via Getty Images)
A fan waits for the final outs between the Florida Marlins and the Chicago Cubs during game seven of the National League Championship Series October 15, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The marlins defeated the Cubs 9-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs during the Cubs 9-6 loss to the Florida Marlins in game 7 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Sporting News via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - OCTOBER 15: A somber Ted Zegarski hangs out with others Chicago Cubs fans in front of Wrigley Field near the end of the game as the Chicago Cubs were defeated 9-6 by the Florida Marlins in game 7 of the National League Championship Series October 15, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Juan Encarnacion #43 pours champagne on Luis Castillo #1 of the Florida Marlins in the locker room after their 9-6 win over the Chicago Cubs during game seven of the National League Championship Series October 15, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Steve Bartman sat in the first row down the left-field line for Game 6 of the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins at Wrigley Field on Oct. 14, 2003.

Eleven years ago tonight, an innocent fan's life changed forever. He wore a green turtleneck and had headphones over his Cubs cap. By the end of the night, he was the most infamous fan, perhaps, in the history of American sports.

By now, you know the story -- the Cubs were ahead, 3-0, in the eighth inning, five outs from their first World Series appearance in 58 years, when Bartman reached for and deflected a foul ball that left fielder Moises Alou had leapt for and appeared ready to catch. The Marlins went on to score eight runs in the frame, win the game and then win the series the next night.

If you appreciate good sportswriting, Will Leitch captured the moment perfectly in an excerpt of his book, 'Are We Winning?', entitled 'A Prayer for Steve Bartman'.

The first paragraph is, well, haunting.

"I look to left field. Every time I go to Wrigley, I look for it. People still sit there. I wonder if he looks for it when he watches games on television. He surely does."

Since the incident, according to the New York Times, he has turned down more than 200 news media requests, including "Today" and "Dr. Phil," and has not returned to Wrigley, as far as anyone knows. Some reporters have even tried to find him. ESPN's Waye Drehs hit a homerun with his search for the most reclusive man in sports.

If you are still fascinated by Bartman and the bizarre event as a whole, you need to watch the ESPN documentary, 'Catching Hell.'

And maybe say a prayer of your own for the guy, wherever he may be.


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