We all know what happened in 2003 as the Chicago Cubs sat a few outs away from taking their first trip to the World Series since 1945. In the eighth inning, with the Cubs holding a 3-0 lead over the Florida Marlins, Luis Castillo lofted a foul popup down the left field line. Moises Alou gave chase. Steve Bartman, a lifelong Cubs fan rose from his seat as the ball approached him. The fans surrounding Bartman also rose to try and get their hands on a souvenir (or at least protect their face from a fast moving projectile).
Alou did not catch the ball. Bartman did not catch the ball, and the Cubs somehow turned a 3-0 lead into an 8-3 deficit with only four outs remaining in the game. Bartman became an easy punching bag in Chicago, and the national media had a field day ridiculing the dorky looking guy wearing headphones at the stadium. In the years following Bartman’s gaffe, he has been for the most part, a recluse when it comes to Cubs baseball (and baseball in general, for that matter).
One fellow Cub fan, Keque Escobedo, wants to change that.
Escobedo has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to cover Bartman’s flight, tickets, hotel, and extra pocket money for the Wild Card game which will likely take place in Pittsburgh. The Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates have already clinched playoff spots. The Pirates hold a two game lead over the Cubs for the top Wild Card spot with three games to go for both teams.
Here is the gist of Escobedo’s campaign which has already raised $250 in three days:
Lifelong Cubs fan wants to make amends for 2003, lets make it happen. First we need to find him to get him to the big game. If anyone knows where he is at, tell him we are looking for him. The money would pay for his expenses including his ticket, hotel room, flights and a little spending money.
If he cannot be found by time of the big game all the proceeds raised will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Even if Escobedo does raise the funds to get Bartman to the game, it’s unlikely he would be willing to accept. Bartman has turned down numerous media appearances in the subsequent year’s following the fateful game. Regardless, I’ve got $20 burning a hole in my pocket and I would consider sending it Escobedo’s way, but only if he can arrange for Moises Alou to sit next to Bartman (preferably at least 10 rows off the field) and hug it out. Maybe noted ballhwak Zack Hample (@zack_hample) can join and give them a few pointers on foul ball technique.
That would be the perfect ending to a long exile for Steve Bartman, perhaps ending years of bad baseball juju for the cursed Chicago Cubs franchise. Takeru Kobayashi ate a goat to help the cause. Now all the Cubs need is Bartman.