It may have taken 14 years, but it appears that the Steve Bartman saga in Chicago finally has its happy ending. The whole thing was fucking ridiculous to begin with. Bartman wasn’t some loudmouth drunk asshole that was double fisting beers before interfering with ball that was clearly playable and then told the crowd to suck his dick as he was being escorted out of Wrigley. He was a quiet, polite, intelligent man who loved the Cubs and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. How anyone could fail to see that and react accordingly is beyond me.
I know how championship starved Cubs fans were, but Jesus Christ. Harassing him and threatening him over a ball that was entirely debatable over whether or not Moises Alou would’ve even caught it was WAY over the top. Bartman never tried to use his newfound fame for personal gain. Anything that was given to him as a sympathetic gesture for how he had been treated was then re-donated elsewhere. He could’ve written books, he could’ve done the late night talk show circuit, he could’ve done television interviews, he could’ve done 60 minutes, he could’ve done documentaries, he could’ve done cameos, he could’ve thrown out first pitches, and he said no to all of it.
He didn’t say no to a 2016 Cubs World Series ring, though. Nor should he have. I’m sure there will be some hardos that will be like, “He wasn’t on the TEAM so he doesn’t deserve a RING. Those are for PLAYERS ONLY.” Well, no. They’re not. Team employees get rings in most organizations. I remember when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, the team did a raffle and gave away a few World Series rings to fans. In this particular case, if there’s a Cubs fan out there who deserves the randomness of a lottery to be removed to ensure that they get a ring, it’s Bartman. Not only that, but you can tell that he really, really appreciates the gesture and recognizes that hardo sentiment that he didn’t earn the ring between the white lines.
“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations. Most meaningful is the genuine outreach from the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organization and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.
I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society. My hope is that we all can learn from my experience to view sports as entertainment and prevent harsh scapegoating, and to challenge the media and opportunistic profiteers to conduct business ethically by respecting personal privacy rights and not exploit any individual to advance their own self-interest or economic gain.
Moreover, I am hopeful this ring gesture will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved. To that end, I request the media please respect my privacy, and the privacy of my family. I will not participate in interviews or further public statements at this time.
Words alone cannot express my heartfelt thanks to the Ricketts family, Crane Kenney, Theo Epstein, and the entire Cubs organization for this extraordinary gift, and for providing the City of Chicago and Cubs fans everywhere an unforgettable World Championship in 2016. I am happy to be reunited with the Cubs family and positively moving forward with my life.”
Even when society gave Bartman every reason to be bitter, he still stands before you a man who has handled this entire situation with nothing but class. And just as he reacted all those years ago, he still wishes to keep his privacy, to be left alone, and not to make a huge spectacle out of his unwanted notoriety. Good for Bartman.