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


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.