I'm a huge Chicago Cubs fan like most people here in Eastern Iowa. I'm from Minnesota, so the Twins are my favorite team, but the Cubs are a close second. The Cubs are playing well and it's been a fun season to follow them. Could this be the year the World Series drought will end? I sure hope so. We all hope so.

The other day my friends and I started talking about the incident that occurred thirteen years ago, this month. It was October 14, 2003. It was the eighth inning of Game 6 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field. Cubs fans had every reason to believe they would finally host a World Series for the first time since 1945. The Cubs led the Marlins 3-0, only five outs short of a pennant -- And then it happened. Everything changed when a home team fan, Steve Bartman, reached for a foul pop fly and tipped the ball away from the glove of leaping Cubs left fielder Moises Alou, who seemed certain to make a spectacular catch.

I was at Muddy Water's in Cedar Rapids that night. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a weird feeling when it happened. We all knew it wasn't good. We continued to drink our $5 pitchers of beer and watch the story unfold.

But it was a sad story, and most of you know how it ends. The Cubs surrendered eight runs in the inning and shortly afterward lost the game, 8–3. When they were eliminated in the seventh game the next day, the "Steve Bartman incident" was seen as the first domino in the turning point of the series.

I felt bad for Steve Bartman. We found out after the incident the guy is a huge Cubs fan. He wasn't trying to disrupt the game. He didn't have a wager on the game. He was just a fan trying to catch a souvenir.

I would have done the same thing he did. I caught a ball at a Twins game back in 1987 and I remember how excited I was. Granted, I was a kid, but it's pretty cool to catch a foul ball at a big league park, no matter how old you are.

Nobody has seen or heard from Bartman in years. He's turned down hundreds of interview requests and public appearances. The Cubs invited him to return to Wrigley in 2013, but he also declined that invitation.

I recently watched the ESPN "30 for 30" film on Steve Bartman. It's sad to watch the footage of him leaving Wrigley Field after the incident. Fans booed him, threw beer on him and even spit on the poor guy.

It's been thirteen years, I'm sure the memory still haunts him today. I wonder if the Chicago Fans will forgive him if the Cubs win the World Series this year? I sure hope so.

I don't believe in "The Curse of the Billy Goat." This Cubs team is good and I think they will get it done this year. And I hope we see Steve Bartman at another game. It's time to get out of hiding. We can forgive and forget, just stay the F out of the way if you see a foul ball!!

funny goat puts out its tongue

[source: ESPN,Wikipedia]

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