Stop Blaming Bartman

As the Cubs prepare for a 'one and done' game, the name of Steve Bartman keeps resurfacing. It is time to end this vendetta against him. On October 14, 2003, Bartman did what any other fan would have done. As a fly ball drifted toward the stands, Bartman reached out, deflected it and caused Moises Alou to miss the catch. Watching replays of that play (which have been everywhere in recent days), several fans can be seen reaching out to catch the ball. So why does Bartman bear the brunt of the blame?

The Cubs were leading 0-3 in the 8th inning; they were leading in the series. One ball should not have mattered; but it did. The Cubs went on to lose that game 8-3; they never scored again after the deflected ball. Every newscast leading up to tonight's game has featured replays of that October 14, 2003 game. Watching it again and again, you can see other fans reaching to catch that ball. Who wouldn't want a piece of Cubs' history? A playoff game, and here comes the ball. Fans had been chanting, "Four outs away" until that moment. No one seems to blame the team for giving up those eight runs; no one blames the team for losing the next night in Wrigley to lose the series. Even though some fans have come forward to defend Bartman, the infamy of that night stuck.

Any Cubs fan knows about curses. The black cat in the outfield and the tale of the goat. Local restaurants have added goat tacos and other delicacies to help expunge 'the curse' as is eating a goat would help. Numerologists are even working the numbers: 10-07 (October 7), or 1907 (19:07 on the military (24 hour) clock. Stop blaming Bartman; stop showing that deflection or the destruction of the ball, adding it to pasta sauce (even if the proceeds go to charity). Just stop. Bartman has apologized; as a lifelong Cubs' fan he feels as bad as anyone. That year, Bartman Halloween costumes were popular. He faced death threats; he has refused to appear in public even for charity.

It is October and the Cubs are still playing meaningful ball which should be enough for any Cubs fan to celebrate. The one win-or-go-home game in Pittsburgh is arguably the most important game of the season. Manager Joe Maddon has been doing his best to keep the team loose all year. Maddon's mantra: 'never let the pressure exceed the pleasure' has set the tone for the club all year. Magicians, 'onesies-sleep-over night', and a pink flamingo have kept the fun in the ole' ballpark. Arrieta, a sure candidate for the Cy Young Award has the ERA and winning record to pitch a winner. Maddon has been tweaking the line-up before tonight's game: Fowler, Schwarber Bryant, Rizzo, LaStella, Castro, Montero and Russel round out the roster with enough back-up to stand up to a tough Pittsburgh team.

Go Cubs; win this one and come home ready for the next series.

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