Ten Years Later and Other Bullets

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  • It’s been ten years. Today. For me, I don’t flash on Steve Bartman when I think back to Game Six of the 2003 NLCS, because that was an element that developed over the days/weeks/years that followed. Instead, I flash on a routine grounder to short. Moises Alou yelling. Mark Prior pointing. Dusty Baker sitting. And Marlins hitting, hitting, hitting. Ten years later, the Chicago Cubs have yet to win another playoff game.
  • (If you want to relive that inning in precise detail, the Hardball Times has you covered. And if you want to catch up on Bartman, himself, ten years later, Paul Sullivan writes about it. No, Bartman has still not come out of hiding, which is more than understandable. For what it’s worth, I feel like there’s probably been enough distance at this point that the vast majority of Cubs fans would welcome Bartman back into the public fold, and most would apologize for how he was treated. My long thoughts on the whole thing from last year.)
  • Patrick Mooney and Theo Epstein on the Cubs’ 2003 flameout, and the dream possibility – at that time – of a Cubs/Red Sox World Series.
  • The Red Sox were down 5-1 to the Tigers last night before David Ortiz hit a game-tying grand slam in the 8th, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked it off in the 9th with a single. The ALCS is now tied at one game apiece, with a trip to Detroit and Justin Verlander on tap for the Sawx. The Cardinals head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers tonight at 7pm CT in Game Three of the NLCS. The Cardinals lead 2-0.
  • Arizona Phil says that Arodys Vizcaino threw a 45-pitch simulated outing in Mesa this weekend and “looked good.” The hope is that Vizcaino will get into an Instructional League game this week.
  • A nice profile on Albert Almora, who’s been working at the baseball thing since he was three years old. I really need to get The Little Boy a bat and ball.
  • The MLBPA and the Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Venezuelan Winter Leagues came to an agreement that will allow MLB players to continue playing in those offseason leagues. There are new limitations on which players can participate (the gist? if you’ve already thrown a ton of innings this year or played in a ton of games or were injured, you might not be able to play – Jeff Passan has the full rundown), but it looks like it will be mostly business as usual. The VWL and MWL started play late last week, the DWL starts later this week, and the PRWL starts on November 1. We’ll have more on those leagues, and the Cubs’ participation therein, soon.

garfieldminusgarfieldplusbartman

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

143 responses to “Ten Years Later and Other Bullets”

  1. MichiganGoat

    Oh garfieldminusgarfield how I missed you

  2. Jimmy james

    They’ve been beating me over the head with “catching hell” almost every night…I figured the anniversary must be close

  3. Brains

    Jed Hoyer is the new Bartman.

    1. DarthHater

      I assume you mean that he is the guy who gets blamed by jackasses for things he did not cause.

      1. Coldneck

        Hilarious. Love this response.

      2. Cyranojoe

        An excellent response for our new troll’s nonsense. Nice one, DarthH.

  4. jeff1969

    I couldn’t sit down for much of Game 6. I was pacing around, cleaning the condo, doing things I had put off for months, but I couldn’t sit or even really watch the game. My wife watched. I was walking across the room when the Bartman play happened & saw it and knew it was over. Man, what a bogus memory that I remember so well. Go Cubs.

    1. JM

      My wife swears to this day that she came downstairs and found me in the fetal position…

      1. Jimmy James

        i remember going for a 3 mile run trying to convince myself we had woody going in game 7 but and it would be alright……my innate cubness knew otherwise

  5. chrisfchi

    For once sully wrote something worth a read. Bartman did what any fan would have done. I think he should come back to Wrigley and enjoy the game and team we love.

    1. cubfanincardinalland

      Baloney, if you watch the video, there are many fans who are not reaching over the railing for the ball. Basically, there were two knuckleheads who were.

      1. chrisfchi

        I watched it live in 03, so ya don’t need to tell me to watch the video. Think about it, had Gonzales made that play would that have changed events that night? What about bringing in another pitcher in the 8th, fresh from the pen, would that have changed the outcome? There’s a lot of things that could have turned the game around for the Cubs. To place blame, solely a fan, who did nothing more than try for a foul ball, is ludicrous.

        1. cubfanincardinalland

          I certainly don’t solely blame Bartman for reaching onto the field of play for the loss. But to say that the play had nothing to do with the Cubs losing the ball game is what is ludicrous. Hell, even Bartman apologized, he knew he screwed up.

          1. chrisfchi

            So why not let the guy be and welcome him back. Had it been a small child would everyone run the kid and family outta town. I don’t think so. I place the blame on Dusty. He should have pulled Prior. I always wondered what went thru Dusty Baker’s head once that lead was blown.

        2. DocPeter Wimsey

          How about if Dusty had lifted Prior an inning or even two earlier in Game 2? The Cubs had a huge lead, and Prior never was Maddux-like with his pitch counts.

          1. chrisfchi

            That’s the point I’m making, to say bartman was the reason for the collapse is wrong. Poor on field management and a few bad plays ruined it. Bartman is a scapegoat.

  6. Eric
  7. cubfanincardinalland

    The myth is that the Bartman play was not why the Cubs lost. Ludicrous. It was the catalyst that set the whole thing in motion. The players knew it at the time for both teams. It was an omen. In the Marlins dugout, they instantly said let’s make that guy famous.
    Another myth is that Alou would not have caught the ball. He easily had it. Why do you think he got so upset?
    Thing that always bugged me, is umpire Fieldin Culbreth dogged it down the line from third base. The correct call should have been fan interference, there is no question the goofball was reaching over the railing onto the field of play. And of course, there would be an umpire down the left field line who would see the play and make the correct call if the game were played today.
    The biggest myth, is that anybody would have reached over the railing for the ball. Bullshit. I would have seen Alou going for the ball, and not interfered with the play. Period. Many, many fans understand the situation and let the Cubs make the play.
    And after 10 years Bartman has only shown what a twit he is. What a coward. Cubs have invited him to throw out the first pitch several times at games. What a drama queen, nobody gives a crap about you Steve, get over yourself.
    I had to watch the stupid thing on ESPN last night, so sorry for the bad mood today.

    1. Brains

      Yeah, Bartman sucks. Take off those headphones and find a friend to go to the game with.

    2. Boogens

      “And after 10 years Bartman has only shown what a twit he is. What a coward.”

      I couldn’t disagree more. I’m not condoning anything that happened and am not going to get into whether or not he should or should not have reached for the ball. The Cubs had several chances to right the ship after that play and they collapsed. Bartman is a scapegoat for a team that choked. Calling him a coward is silly. He has handled this situation with as much grace and class as anyone could have imagined, given the unfair criticism and hatred that has been directed towards him.

    3. bbmoney

      I disagree with most of this. The two biggest things I disagree with:

      1. ” nobody gives a crap about you Steve” – Somewhat comical given your post. Clearly you are still upset and give a crap and want us to know it.

      2. “I had to watch the stupid thing on ESPN last night, so sorry for the bad mood today.” – Hilarious unless you are in fact strapped to a chair against your will and some sadist made you watch the documentary (in which case I am sorry) and has now released you to allow you to post on it. Otherwise there were certainly other ways you could have spent your Sunday night. Many of which aren’t even sports related.

      1. DarthHater

        8610892575_513954d48f_n.jpg

    4. JB88

      I have and always will blame Alou. He was tight and pretty much after that the rest of the team was also.

      Shake it off, run back to your position, and maybe Bartman and the rest of that inning doesn’t happen.

    5. V23

      Your paragraph proves you belong in podunk St. Louis. Completely wrong, mean and worthless.
      Yuck. I’m embarrassed that you are a Chicago Cub fan. For those living in the city, we have trouble identifying with people like you. Please don’t visit.

  8. Jon

    Anyone that still blames Bartman in freakin’ idiot.

    1. bbmoney

      yup.

    2. cubfanincardinalland

      Anybody who doesn’t think that play greatly affected the outcome of the game, is in delusion. It was the key play of the game.

      1. Jon

        I see living in “Cardinal Land” the stupidity has rubbed off on you.

        1. cubfanincardinalland

          Well I guess that many of the Cubs in the game are stupid then also. Aramis Ramirez has said many times, that after that happened, the whole atmosphere changed. It was like, here we go again.

          1. Jon

            Yes, if they, professional athletes, are trying to blame a fan for the fact they choked, they are idiots too.

          2. noisesquared

            Only in Cub-dom could fan interference on a FOUL BALL be a history making event. If your team can’t overcome such a major catastrophe as fan interference on a FOUL BALL, you don’t deserve to win anything. If that created the problems that everyone claims, then the Cubs were too mentally weak to deserve any better. Good grief.

            Personally, I’ve always felt if Alou had just walked back to LF and not sat in front of the stands throwing a tantrum, that would’ve diffused the situation. Instead his fit brought undue attention and made ‘the Curse’ a tangible thing to the players and media again.

      2. Kevin

        You are so wrong!

  9. Aaron

    The Red Sox have shown us since 2003 that “curses” can be broken. In fact, they’ve won the World Series twice since then and are working on a third this postseason.

    In addition to a player’s physical talent, the Cubs need to draft and sign free agents who are also mentally tough. Mental toughness is an aspect of a player’s game that is just as important as everything they do to physically prepare. This off-season, the Red Sox re-built their team by adding players who were high-character, tough-minded players.

    Perhaps if Alex Gonzalez, M. Alou and manager Dusty Baker were a bit more composed under the pressure, perhaps the Cubs would have made it to the World Series in 2003, which I believe they would have won against a weaker Yankee team that year.

    The lesson learned is for ownership and FO to draft and sign free agent players that have the mental makeup to deal with the extreme pressure (from fans and media) of being a player on the Chicago Cubs going forward.

  10. Spriggs

    Meanwhile, cardinal fans are watching their team win again while we rehash the worst moment in Cubs history… again.

    1. Myles

      On a positive note, Orval Overall was mentioned on the ALCS broadcast in Game 1?

  11. Dawn

    This is the most depressing comment thread ever. Sigh.

  12. Kramden

    I’ve had my fill of all the Bartman apologists for the past 10 years. It wasn’t funny to many of us then and it’s not funny, or cute or cuddly Cub-Like now.

    Bartman was a huge factor…. If not the primary catalyst for the collapse.

    As far as I’m concerned, that little dweeb can stay in hiding forever.

    1. Pat

      Yeah, don’t blame the players. They’re just the ones who let in eight runs.

      1. Cyranojoe

        Amen. And wasn’t there, I don’t know, another game to be played?

    2. Kevin

      Real nice!

    3. Brains

      Just for the record I love that most of you guys are ultra sensitive optimists who self-identify with Bartman. It’s why I’ve been coming back the past couple months.

      1. DarthHater

        We’d be happy to change, if that would make you go away.

        1. Brains

          I think I’m like the 43rd guy you told to go away this week Darth, another reason you’re such a treat.

          Darth Bartman – ::inserts southpark meme:: “No just you.”

          1. DarthHater

            No, it just seems that way to you because I told you to go away 43 times.

            1. Brains

              hah i just said that

              1. Brains

                i’ve got your algorithm down.

                now insert a sarcastic comment about my idiocy and say something about inappropriate interpretation of facts reported by numerous newspapers

            2. mjhurdle

              Darth, looks like you have another stalker.

              1. Brains

                as a comment sentry he’s fascinatingly repetitive in both style and content

  13. Randy

    Agree with Jon. You are really not thinking clearly to blame Bartman. How about blaming A. GON for being a dip shit and booting a ball.. HELLO . Bartman did what many would do and you certainly don’t know that Alou would have caught the ball. Was he an all star outfielder. Too many ifffffsssss for me

  14. Jon

    There was only one out on the Bartman play. One. Which means even if Alou catches it, the inning is not over.

    How about more blame for that dumb ass shortstop that booted the double play
    How about that dumb ass manager that couldn’t manage a bullpen.

    Blame the professional baseball players. Those that still blame Bartman are the lowest common denominator of fans. Mouth breathing idiots.

    1. cubfanincardinalland

      You lose any credibility Jon when you start calling people names.

      1. bbmoney

        Now that’s funny given your post above.

  15. Clark Addison

    I blame Dusty, who sat on his ass and did nothing while his team collapsed. Go to the mound to settle down Prior. Pull him after the walk.

    No. He just sat on his ass.

    And lost.

    1. Jon

      Exactly

    2. Indy57

      Not only did Dusty sit on his ass, so did the fans. Next time we get in a position to be in the playoffs, the fans need to be in it as well, right up to the final out. Too many sat in the stands and cried. Two times in the bottom of the ninth in the 2011 WS, with two outs, two strike and down by 2 runs, the Cardinals came back to win 10-9. David Freese at the plate and Cardinal fans on are on their feet. Cub fans are going to have to will the team to win under those circumstances in the future. We will be in a playoff game at home where we will be behind. Who will keep the faith, screaming at the top of their lungs, until the final out? We’ve got to get this curse crap out of our heads once an for all and realize it is a collective effort and we fans are part of it..

  16. Aaron

    Dusty Baker needs to be part of this discussion since he was the manager. It’s interesting to note that Dusty’s teams after the 2003 Cubs season, have not done very well in advancing in the playoffs, in spite of having some good Reds teams. In fact they blew a 2-0 lead against the Giants last year in the NLCS, where the Giants then went on to win the World Series. Similar to 2003 and the Cubs with the Marlins.

    Baker lost his job with the Reds recently and is now interested in the Nationals job.

  17. Kevin

    Moses Alou caused everyone to be on edge. He throws his glove down like a spoiled little 5th grader and allowed ALL the blame to fall on Bartman. Total classless act!

    1. Voice of Reason

      I think Alou was trying to get the umpire to call him out on fan interference! That’s why he was stomping around.

      1. Voice of Reason

        Call the batter out, that is!

  18. CubChymyst

    Kind of disappointed about the amount of Bartman talk above, and everyone skipped over the important thing.

    Vizcaino pitching a 45 pitch simulated game. For someone with more familiarity with simulated games;Does the fact he threw 45 pitches suggest he is being stretched as a potential starter still or is it 45 pitches simply for reps since he hasn’t thrown in a while?

    1. J.L.

      I would guess they just want him to get as many reps as possible.

    2. Spriggs

      Dale said he would pitch out of the bullpen only :)

  19. 70'scub

    NO Comment! This rehash, as the “Cards” are ready to roll into another WS with the youngest impact pitching in the playoffs. The Cubs should continue to focus on young impact talent, under 24 years old, until a critical mass develops on the MLB level. From what I see this first wave is at the AA level. The pitching Wave is at the A level plus at the AAA level we have some decent minor league retreads that are coming back from injuries plus Castro, Rizzo, Wood and maybe the catcher. Throw in some young retreads from recent trades like Baltimore, waiver pickups and cheap free agents. This year should be more of the same, little better record happening with a younger team. Use of the draft, free agent flips to continue aggressively loading young talent into the new Cub player development system. Organizations bring winning legacies!

    1. Jono

      “with the youngest impact pitching in the playoffs”

      bingo.

  20. Frank

    It takes a lot more energy to hate than it does to forgive. Get over it.

    1. Patrick W.

      Depends on what kind of person you are. Some people hate so easily the reverse is true.

  21. Aaron

    The Reds are going to be pay Dusty Baker between $3.5 million and $4 million next year to not manage for them. That is a significant price to pay so it gives you some insight what the Reds thought of Dusty as they ended their relationship after this season with a year left on his contract.

    He does a nice job of managing during the regular season and many players seem to love playing for him, but when it comes to the playoffs…something changes.

  22. JoyceDaddy

    True Stories From A BN’er: Steve Bartman was one of my rival travel-league baseball team’s coaches. Notice the “Niles Renegades” sweatshirt he’s wearing on that night? I played for the Park Ridge Jr. Hawks and we had played his team less than a week before he grabbed for that foul ball. That being said, any of us would have done it we all know that. If we ever make it to the World Series I hope he is allowed to come to one of the games.

  23. OCCubFan

    Smart fans get out of the way when a home player tries to catch a ball near the railing; when a visiting player tries to make the same play, smart fans fight him for the ball. That should be part of the home field advantage. Fan elsewhere frequently do this; Cubs fans rarely. So I blame Bartman for not being a smart fan, but he has plenty of company and certainly should not be vilified.

    Bartman was the catalyst, but good teams should not fold after such an event. The next time you watch the “Sandberg Game,” notice that there was a very similar play in (I think) the 10th inning. Gary Matthews tried to make a play in nearly the same spot as the Bartman play, but a fan kept him from making the catch. Neither he nor anyone else made a big deal of it.The Cardinals went on to score 2 runs, but, as we all know, the Cubs came back and eventually won the game.

  24. Voice of Reason

    The Cubs lost the game. Bartman had NOTHING to do with it.

    I hate excuses. Gonzalez didn’t field the ground ball that Prior induced.

    I guess Baker should have went to each player individually on the field after the Bartmen incident and patted them on their backs and told them that everything was going to be ok?

    It’s so stupid, yet something else for Cubs fans to bitch about and use as yet another excuse for not winning a World Series in over a hundred years.

    Just let it go.

  25. Spriggs

    While we’re at it, let’s talk about the curse of the billygoat, the black cat, the Emus Catuli sign, etc. etc. That’ll make everything better… Just like a nationally televised game at Wrigley!

  26. papad1945

    Bartman is hiding out in the cheeseburger- cheeseburger shop basement, with the billy goat.

    1. chrisfchi

      hansman would have found him by now.

  27. Leo L

    happy 10. it has been a while since the garfields. go cubs and BN

  28. cubzforlife

    If his name had been Zbignieski I think things might of been different. It would of been that guy or that polish guy. But Bartman, Hollywood couldn’t of come up with a better name.

  29. V23

    Can we stop mentioned Bartman? It’s so typical of some of the moronic Chicago fans to blame him. Why even bring it up? Alex Gonzalez is the 1st culprit. Then, it’s a combined choke.

    I saw a blurb today Cub fans “aren’t the same” since 2003. That’s such revisionist BS. In 2008, the Cubs dominated the regular season. Fans were as pumped as confident as ever….then splat! Paul Sullivan wrote a douchy article on Sunday…and I’m sick of people even referencing Bartman. It’s ignorant.

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