Steve Bartman, once Public Enemy No. 1 in Chicago, has apparently been forgiven by not just the Cubs, but their fans as well.
The Cubs’ announcement Monday that they had given a 2016 World Series ring to Bartman caught many by surprise. Bartman, of course, was vilified and threatened by Cubs fans for tipping a foul ball that left-fielder Moises Alou tried to catch near the stands during Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Chicago lost that game en route to blowing a 3-2 series lead to the Marlins.
The majority of fans on social media Monday seemed in a very forgiving mood of Bartman, and cheered the Cubs’ gesture.
The Chicago Cubs are giving Steve Bartman a 2016 World Series ring. What a classy move. Hopefully he comes back to beautiful Wrigley Field.
— Frankie LaVere (@FrankieLaVere) July 31, 2017
If Steve Bartman is happy about this and feels satisfied, and gets closure, then it’s all good by me. https://t.co/zAx4S7fLZ5
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) July 31, 2017
Those are kind words for a man who had to be escorted out of Wrigley Field by security as fans pelted him with beer and debris (Bartman later had police protection outside his home). ESPN detailed Bartman’s traumatic post-incident saga in the 2011 30 For 30 film, “Catching Hell.”
This is a really nice gesture by @Cubs. Poor Bartman’s life was ruined in ’03 just for reaching for a souvenir! https://t.co/gQMRSAEuqm pic.twitter.com/cjEHgE3LCE
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) July 31, 2017
No person has handled unwanted fame with more grace, restraint and perseverance than Steve Bartman. https://t.co/8OR0C1ESGd
— ((((Peter Sagal)))) (@petersagal) July 31, 2017
Cubs fans’ attitudes toward Bartman have softened in recent years. It probably helped that the Cubs snapped their 108-year World Series championship drought last season. Some fans suggested Bartman be invited to throw out the first pitch at a World Series game last year, or be allowed to participate in the Cubs victory parade. (Bartman has steadfastly refused to be interviewed or otherwise capitalize on that 2003 incident.)
Steve Bartman got a Ring! Finally an happy ending! #Cubs
— Jose Noel (@JoseGNoel) July 31, 2017
In a statement Monday, Bartman thanked the Cubs organization and fans for the ring, noting, “I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.”