That could have been you at Wrigley Field

    You weren’t sitting down the left field line at Wrigley Field for game six of the National League Championship Series between the Cubs and the Marlins. You couldn’t get seats. But if you could have, that might have been you staring up into the Chicago night as that baseball soared magically toward your outstretched arms. That might have been you that scrambled to recover that once-in-a-lifetime souvenir after it glanced off of your hands. That might have been Steve Bartman screaming at his TV as the cameras zoomed in on your face and Moises Alou yelled in your direction. You just cost the Cubs a trip to the World Series.

    Bartman’s ill-fated attempt to catch that foul ball interfered with Alou and helped continue the eighth inning in which the Marlins overcame a 3-0 deficit with eight runs and turned the tide in the series. History will undoubtedly forget Alex Gonzalez’s key error in the inning and the way that Dusty Baker once again proved his ineptitude in the playoffs, but history will remember Bartman.

    The same kind of mental breakdown that let the ball squirt between Bill Buckner’s legs in the 1986 World Series, or kept Cedric Wilson running while the clock expired in the 49ers vs. Rams game earlier this season, will forever be the stigma attached to the name Steve Bartman. His name and address have been broadcast in the media, his friends and neighbors have been terrorized, and his prospects of ever living a peaceful life in Chicago have been shattered.

    I’ve had a Bartman moment or two in my life. I’ve missed a wide-open goal eight feet wide to the left, I’ve said some rather idiotic things, and I’ve run into my fair share of poles Š but never on national television. Never with the world watching.

    Maybe for you it’s the back page of a test you left blank, the soda you spilled all over yourself in front of your friends, or maybe it’s the thing you said about the person who ended up being right behind you. Whatever it is you’ve done or have yet to do, you’ll never live up to the original Bartman moment.

    Consider yourself lucky. That could have been you, but I hope it never is. May all of your days be free of Bartman moments, and may all of your seats be in the second row.

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