The Steve Bartman Incident

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The Steve Bartman incident occurred on October 14th in 2003 in Chicago, Illinois. This topic refers to an incident that took place during a baseball championship match between Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins at Wrigley Stadium, Chicago. During the match, a fan by the name Steve Bartman deflected a ball headed his way. In the process the Cub’s outfielder was unable to catch it. The Cubs went to lose a match they were leading and lost the championship series as well.

Who is Steve Bartman?

Steve Bartman is a baseball fan who attended an MLB, Major League Baseball match between Florida Marlins and Chicago Cubs. He lives in Chicago and is an ardent supporter of the Chicago Cubs. He attended this particular match dressed in a Cubs baseball cap, glasses and a T-shirt.

The foul ball incident during the match

The match at hand was the National League Championship series that pitted Chicago Cubs against Florida Marlins. The Cubs were ahead in the series, leading by 3 games to 2 and ahead of the match. During the eighth inning in the 6th match of the championship series, a foul ball was directed towards the spectators.

One of the fans at the match, who happened to be Steve Bartman, reached out to catch the ball and in the process deflected it. This caused the Cubs outfielder to miss out on a potential catch. Had the outfielder caught the ball, the Cubs would have been very close to winning the match. Instead the Cubs went on to lose the game by 8 to 3. They went on to lose the series after elimination the following day.

In the game pitting the Cubs and the Marlins, Mark Prior was pitching for the Cubs in the eighth inning. At this point, the Cubs were leading not just the series but the game as well. They were up 3 – 0 in the game and led the series by 3 games to 2. Had they won this match, they would have won the series and proceeded on to the World Series for the first time in 45 years. This would have been a huge achievement for the team, including the players and their fans. At the time of the foul ball incident, Luis Castillo was batting for the visiting team, the Florida Marlins.

The Bartman incident

During the match, Bartman was seated on the front row of the Wrigley Field Stadium. He was positioned towards the left of the front row. When Castillo hit the ball, it drifted towards Bartman who stood up and reached for it. At the time, the outfielder closest to the ball was Moises Alou.

He had jumped really high and many fans and pundits believe he would actually have caught the ball. Both Alou and Bartman reached for the ball at the same time when Bartman deflected the ball and caused Alou to miss. Some other fans had moved forward as well, hoping to catch the ball too.

Alou and Prior, both Cubs players, argued that this was an incidence of player interference. However, the umpire did not agree and ruled the ball had gone past the wall hence no fan interference. Dusty Baker who was the Cubs manager at the time was not able to witness the incident due to his location in the stadium.

The aftermath of the Bartman incident

The Steve Bartman had a number of consequences. For starters, the umpire was heavily criticized over his decision for many years after. Many pundits, sports fans and baseball adherents believe fan interference should have been called.

Once the incident happened and the umpire ruled, Marlins won the match and went on to win the series. They were the eventual winners of the World Series beating the New York Yankees in the finals. The Cubs did not see another playoffs win after the incident until 2015.

Bartman suffered the consequences with fans anger directed towards him. He had to be escorted from the Stadium. Some fans yelled profanities while another poured beer on him. He later released a statement and apologized profusely for the incident. The infamous ball was later auctioned then sold off and finally destroyed. The legend has lived on till today,especially with the enthusiasts of the game.