CHICAGO (CBS) — Eight years ago today, Steve Bartman may have helped the Cubs fall apart, but he also brought a Chicago couple together.
While many Cubs fans may still harbor bad feelings, one Chicago couple is grateful for his intervention.
Jana and George Balis were sitting in the same row at Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against Florida, but were perfect strangers until the end of the eighth inning.
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That’s when the team collapsed after Bartman interfered with a foul ball that Moises Alou was poised to catch. The team then made a number of blunders that allowed the Marlins to score eight runs.
The pair says everyone else in Row 13, Section 142 got up, out of frustration.
“They were angry. The only people left in the row were George and I,” said Jana.
So George used the opportunity to go talk to the attractive woman at the end of the row, seven seats away.
After emailing for six months, they went to another Cubs game–this time together.
At their 2006 wedding reception, they showed a video re-enactment of their chance meeting and even took pictures at Wrigley Field on their wedding day.
George says they even thought of inviting Bartman to the wedding.
The pair says the anniversary is bittersweet, but something they celebrate – this year with a trip to Wisconsin with their 2-year-old twins.
“We love Steve Bartman,” said Jana.
George still wants a World Series, but he says he definitely picked up the better win that day, meeting his future wife.