CHICAGO (CBS) — It may be the most talked about plays in all of baseball — the one that changed Cubs fan Steve Bartman’s life forever.
Many thought he interfered on a key play in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, thus helping doom the Cubs’ chances of winning the World Series as the Marlins rallied in that contest and went on to win Game 7.
“Him getting a ring? I think it’s great,” said Pat Looney, who was just feet from Bartman–and reached for the ball, too.
“I was following the ball and as the ball was coming down, and I was reaching for it–at the same time, I see his glove come up and I was like, ‘Oh My God.’
Looney believes Bartman did nothing wrong.
“All he did was stick his arms out. So it’s crazy the abuse he’s gotten for the past 14 years.”
But Monday, Bartman and the Cubs moved to put it all behind them. The team announced that Bartman will receive a 2016 World Series ring from the franchise.
“On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series championship ring to Mr. Steve Bartman,” the Cubs said in a statement. “We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series. While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today.”
Bartman said he’s deeply moved and sincerely grateful, hoping it will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved.
Most fans, but arguably not all, hope so too.
“God, bless him, I think it’s a wonderful thing,” one fan said Monday evening, although she admits not everybody may feel the same way.
“We won a World Series .. all is forgiven,” said another fan.
Bartman has never spoken publicly about that night and, despite his heartfelt statement, doesn’t plan to now.