As of 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary on January 3rd, the station has begun to reveal (in chronological order) the Top 100 Chicago Sports Stories that have occurred since they first went on the air 20 years ago. Once all 100 of these “flashbacks” have been revealed, fans will be able to vote for which stories they believe are the most significant in the 20 year history of The Score. To see all of the Flashbacks that The Score has posted so far, please visit 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary page.
October 14, 2003 – Steve Bartman game
He was at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Before the start of Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series between the Cubs and the Marlins, few knew who Steve Bartman was.
He was just a fan, no one special. But in the eighth inning of Game 6 on the NLCS, Bartman’s life, and Cubs’ history, changed forever.
The Cubs were clinging to a 3-2 series lead. They were up 3-0 and were five outs away from their first World Series appearance since 1945.
That’s when Marlins’ second baseman Luis Castillo smacked a ball into foul territory in left field. Several fans, including Bartman, reached out while Cubs left fielder Moises Alou tried to make a play on the ball. Bartman deflected the ball, eliminating any possibility of Alou making the catch for the second out of the inning.
After the play, pitcher Mark Prior argued for fan interference, but it was never called. Alou slammed his glove on his leg and yelled into the crowd.
What happened next, no body could have predicted. The Cubs went on to surrender eight runs in the inning, giving up the lead and losing the game.
After the play, Castillo drew a walk. Ball four was a wild pitch from Prior, which allowed Juan Pierre to advance to third base. Next up was Iván Rodríguez, who singled to drive in the first run of the inning, making the score 3–1.
Next, Miguel Cabrera hit a ground ball to the normally sure-handed Alex Gonzalez, who bobbled the ball. Had Gonzalez fielded the ball cleanly, the Cubs could have turned an inning-ending double play, still ahead by two runs. Instead, all runners were safe and the bases were loaded.
From that point on, things got out of hand for the Cubs. Derrek Lee doubled, tying the score, which resulted in Prior’s exit from the game.
Kyle Farnsworth relieved Prior and issued an intentional walk to Mike Lowell. Farnsworth then gave up a sacrifice fly to Jeff Conine, giving Florida a 4–3 lead. On the sac fly, Sammy Sosa missed the cut-off man, allowing Lowell to move up to second base. This forced the Cubs to issue another intentional walk to Todd Hollandsworth, which again loaded the bases.
That’s when Mike Mordecai hit a bases-clearing double, making the score 7–3.
Pierre then singled to put Florida ahead 8–3. The Cubs wouldn’t score again in the game.
As the Marlins rallied, Wrigley Field erupted with a chorus of boos and chants directed at Bartman. The criticism of Bartman became so intense that he was escourted out of the stadium by Wrigley Field security.
The Marlins took Game 7, 9-6, and went on to win the 2003 World Series.
Since the incident, Bartman has become one of the most vilified figures in Chicago sports. He’s never spoken publicly, only releasing one statement asking for forgiveness.
“There are few words to describe how awful I feel and what I have experienced within these last 24 hours. I’ve been a Cub fan all my life and fully understand the relationship between my actions and the outcome of the game. I had my eyes glued on the approaching ball the entire time and was so caught up in the moment that I did not even see Moises Alou, much less that he may have had a play. Had I thought for one second that the ball was playable or had I seen Alou approaching I would have done whatever I could to get out of the way and give Alou a chance to make the catch. To Moises Alou, the Chicago Cubs organization, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, and Cub fans everywhere I am so truly sorry from the bottom of this Cubs fan’s broken heart. I ask that Cub fans everywhere redirect the negative energy that has been vented towards my family, my friends, and myself into the usual positive support for our beloved team on their way to being National League champs.”
The Cubs have not won a playoff game since the incident.
The Score will continue to release a new Flashback each weekday until they reach 100. Check back tomorrow for a new one, or check out all of the previous Flashbacks: 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary »