The Chicago Cubs have given Steve Bartman a 2016 World Series ring, hoping to bring closure to perhaps the most infamous fan-player interaction in baseball history.
Bartman became a national obsession, scapegoat, punchline – you name it – following Game 6 of the 2003 Cubs/Marlins NLCS. He may have prevented Moises Alou from catching a foul ball in the eighth inning, and a 3-0 Cubs lead quickly became an 8-3 loss.
At the time, the Bartman incident added to the tortured history of long-suffering Cubs fans. After the 2016 World Series win, however, Bartman has been absolved of any and all wrongdoing – if he wasn’t already.
“I think it’s great,” Hall of Famer and former Cub Ryne Sandberg said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “The Chicago Cubs organization is so very supportive of the fans and very aware of the fan base. A lot of the decisions and things being done with Wrigley Field and the neighborhood, it’s about the fans. So to see the ownership and Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein come together and give a Chicago Cub baseball fan a World Series ring just to ease his pain, if he has any pain, on a situation that was very unfortunate, could have really happened to just nearly anybody that was sitting in that seat, along with myself – it’s great to see that in the past and to make amends there, more for Bartman than anybody.”
Sandberg played for the Cubs from 1982-94 and 1996-97. He does not believe Bartman had any bearing on the outcome of Game 6.
“The fact of the matter is that was just a foul ball,” Sandberg said. “They still had a (three)-run lead, they had a ground-ball double play that was missed (by) a defense that was terrific, and (they had) a very good pitcher (Mark Pryor) on the mound. So all in all, it wasn’t about Bartman losing the game, but he was put into that light. (It was) very unfortunate, but (it was) very classy to see the Cubs organization step up.”