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Catching Hell


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#1 BlueHorizons

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 03:15 PM

Sunday night, while channel surfing, I stumbled upon the ESPN documentary "Catching Hell." I'd been wanting to see if for sometime, but my schedule never meshed to allow it. Fortunately, when I discovered it, I had only missed about the first 15 minutes. If you haven't already seen this, I highly recommend watching it, as it delves into a brief history of some of the Cubs failures and the supposed curse. It also links the Cubs "curse" with the Red Sox, and in particular Bill Buckner. The main concentration is on what happened during the '03 playoff series with the Marlins. Some good stuff!

Admittedly, it was was torturous reliving some of the darkest moments in my "career" as a Cubs fan. I was too young to have been a witness to the collapse of the '69 Cubs (thankfully), but I have experienced the '84 Cubs and the focal point of the show - the '03 Cubs and the infamous Bartman incident. I remember the 2003 season like it was yesterday and specifically the playoffs. It was SUCH an exciting and hope-filled time; too bad it ended in such an ugly manner. Watching "Catching Hell" reopened some wounds, for sure. I vividly remember The Foul Ball and Alou's mitt-slamming reaction. The stunned feeling I had at the time was oppressive. I watched the game on TV, by myself, and had several texting conversations going on with a few friends who were also watching the game, and we were all watching in utter disbelief as the ugliness swirled. After being up 3-0, the Marlins rode on a tide of EIGHT frickin' runs in the miserable inning that marked the beginning of the end of hope that year. As I watched Sunday, I felt that same depressing feeling washing over me that I'd experienced almost 10 years ago.

When the Bartmen Blunder happened, I remember that I was just as pissed-off at him as the massed at Wrigley. Until watching the documentary, though, I didn't realize how ugly things got for Bartmen... all the chants and such that he endured... finally being escorted out of the stands for his own protection. The two "friends" that he'd come to the game with had left without him ... how sad is that? The show pointed out that Bartmen was like us, a die-hard Cubs fan, and he probably felt worse than any of us, because HE shouldered the responsibility. Not because of what he did - he actually did what 95% of the people would do when a foul ball is heading for them - but because of how the crowd directed the blame.

At the time, I realized that during the 8 run inning, there were several other key points that could have - even SHOULD have - been sited as the culprit, rather than Bartmen. There was the uncharacteristic wild pitch thrown by Prior... the normally error-proof Gonzalez' terrible attempt at fielding a routine play that SHOULD have been a double play and ended the inning... Dusty Baker leaving Prior in too long.... Dusty Baker failing to call the team together and settle them down...

The way that Bartmen was treated, it was / is embarrassing as a Cubs fan.

Sorry for rambling... I just wanted to shout out the recommendation to watch "Catching Hell" if you get the chance. Other than spending two hours enduring and re-awakening bad memories, it was well worth the time!

When Boston finally ended their World Series drought, their curse was somewhat lifted. Hopefully Chicago will have a simlar outcome in the not-too-distant future - at least in MY lifetime.

#2 Luke

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:25 PM

This is verging dangerously close to soapbox territory here... I could write a book on what happened that night and why nearly every member of the media in that stadium that night needs to resign or be fired, but I won't. I'll avoid the temptation and keep this short.
...
But I have to give credit to Pat Hughes. I was listening to that game on radio, and Hughes was annoyed when the foul ball happened. Ron Santo was distraught. And then, like the professional he is, Pat Hughes focused on the game and talked about the baseball. He didn't try to launch a manhunt. He didn't try to make the situation worse than it was. His job was to describe a baseball game, and he did his job.

...

Edit: And despite my best intentions, I went long. I cut about 80% of the original of this and left the only important parts: the media really screwed up that night, but Pat Hughes handled it well.

#3 Richard Nose

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 06:16 PM

I don't hold anything against Bartman. A few of my friends have told me about a couple pieces of Catching Hell. There's still no way I'll watch it.

#4 MichiganGoat

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 06:43 PM

I refuse to watch, I broke a window that night and still feel the pain everytime I hear anything about it. I'm still unsure how I feel about Bartman. I understand the logic and agree when I'm thinking objectively, but the raw, reactionary fan really wants to have a villain- BARTMAN DAMN YOU!

The one thing I do enjoy about Bartman is that he took the pressure off us goats and my forefather love him for that.

BTW, Brett how is the great Bartman Opus? It better be your Citizen Kane.

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#5 Brett

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:08 PM

I refuse to watch, I broke a window that night and still feel the pain everytime I hear anything about it. I'm still unsure how I feel about Bartman. I understand the logic and agree when I'm thinking objectively, but the raw, reactionary fan really wants to have a villain- BARTMAN DAMN YOU!

The one thing I do enjoy about Bartman is that he took the pressure off us goats and my forefather love him for that.

BTW, Brett how is the great Bartman Opus? It better be your Citizen Kane.

The Bartman piece of it (well, the Catching Hell piece) keeps shrinking as the rest grows. It's now slated for an Opening Day premier. The longer it takes, the greater the expectations, and thus the longer it takes, and so on, and so on...

#6 T C

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:22 PM

Y'know, Im gonna take the completely unenlightened, meathead stance here.

I'm still angry as hell at the guy. No matter who got in the way of that ball, I would still be angry at them, because as an attentive fan you should be aware of the situation and get the fuck out of the way, and push as many others out of the way as well. Those were the emotions I felt then, and i don't think looking at it from a reasonable perspective should overrule how it felt back then. Its sports fandom, reason has no bearing on how I feel about these things. Yes, his story is a sad one, and from a normal human perspective I hope he stays disappeared forever so he can live a normal life. But at the end of the day, fuck him. And Alex Gonzalez. Especially Alex Gonzalez.

#7 scorecardpaul

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 09:53 PM

I blame Dusty. It was not the time to just sit on your ass. Momentum is a huge part of sports, and every person in the world could feel the momentum change. If there was ever a time in the game of baseball for the manager to talk to his team it was that moment. He let the curse kill them. Shame on you Dusty.

#8 scorecardpaul

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 10:00 PM

My neighbor was at the game, and I will never forget how he described it the next day.
He said after the first inning he was questioning why he had blown $3,000 on a plane ticket and tickets to get his son home from college and into the game. By the 2nd or 3rd inning he was feeling like he would have gladly paid 10 times the amount. He felt like what he was being able to experience in person with his son was one of the best moments of his life. When "it" happened he felt like someone had just run them both over with a truck. He still couldn't even explain how he felt, and it happened 15 hours earlier. He was just in shock.

#9 BFiddy

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 03:16 AM

But at the end of the day, fuck him. And Alex Gonzalez. Especially Alex Gonzalez.


This...
And that's a bad miss...

#10 TWC

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:41 AM

But I have to give credit to Pat Hughes. I was listening to that game on radio, and Hughes was annoyed when the foul ball happened. Ron Santo was distraught. And then, like the professional he is, Pat Hughes focused on the game and talked about the baseball. He didn't try to launch a manhunt. He didn't try to make the situation worse than it was. His job was to describe a baseball game, and he did his job.
...
Pat Hughes handled it well.

Pat Hughes is probably my favorite member of the Cubs organization. If I ever contracted some horrible disease, I'd want Pat Hughes to be the one to tell me.

#11 TWC

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:41 AM

Oh, yeah, and fuck Alex Gonzalez.

#12 cys_av8r

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:20 AM

I had been going to the same bar with the same friends for every playoff game that year UNTIL the Bartman game.

We went to a different bar that horrible night. I have not darkened the doorstep of that establishment since.

#13 TWC

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:53 AM

I had been going to the same bar with the same friends for every playoff game that year UNTIL the Bartman game.

We went to a different bar that horrible night. I have not darkened the doorstep of that establishment since.

Oh, so it's your fault.

#14 Sam

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 04:03 PM

I don't think that I will forget this for as long as I live... But my hate is reserved for Alex Gonzalez. Lets say Bartman sits on his hands and Alou makes the catch thats not the end of the inning (there was only 1 out at the time), on the next play when Gonzalez's hand turned into a frying pan and he dropped that double play ball... that was the defining moment of that game. He makes that play and the Cubs get out of the inning and probably move on to the WS.
"Some may never live, but the crazy never die."- Hunter S. Thompson




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