October 14th is a very legendary day in the history of the world. In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis begun. While in 1964 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr won a Nobel Peace Prize. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt was shot but survived miraculously since the bullet headed for his heart was slowed down due to the folded up speech in his pocket. Then Roosevelt proceeded to finish an hour long speech with a bullet lodged in his body. Famous for saying, “It takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” Also, Ralph Lauren and future President Eisenhower were born in 1939 and 1890 respectively. One of the all-time great movie (which I am not a fan of but that is an argument for another day) Pulp Fiction debuted. But there is one thing all of these events have in common outside of the date which they occurred. They all were one-upped in terms of history on October 14th in the year of 2003 in Chicago, Illinois. A man by the name of Steve Bartman was scapegoated for the demise of the 2003 Chicago Cubs postseason run.
Okay, maybe it isn’t the most important event to take place on this date but it is definitely up there.
The Cubs were a strong team in 2003 headlined by All-Star pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. The Cubs fans were thirsty for a World Series title and they believed that 2003 year was the year to end their drought of just under 100 years. The Cubs last won a World Series title in 1908 and their drought makes that of the Boston Red Sox look short (which by no means it was, weighing in at 86 years). The Florida Marlins were also very good in 2003 with clutch postseason performer Josh Beckett. It all unfolded like this and from that point on it all just unraveled. The Marlins went on to win both the NLCS and the World Series on the back of Josh Beckett.
Bartman felt terrible as any fan would and he kind of fell off of the face of the Earth. He went into hiding and nobody has seen or heard much from him if at all since 2003.
I mentioned that he was scapegoated earlier in the article and to be honest, any fan in the history of baseball, ever would attempt to catch the ball no matter what the consequences. Bartman was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It also didn’t help that a Moises Alou who was on the wrong side of 30 at the age of 36, immediately ripped into him, in turn blaming him for the extension of the at-bat. If we’re are being straightforward, there is an extremely high chance Alou does not catch that ball and deep down inside he was probably happy it was taken from him for he couldn’t mess up. Alou’s defensiveWAR in 2003 was -1.2 which is not good. That means your typical replacement can man left field better than Moises. I’m not going to tell you that nobody was to blame, people were and it is probably the Cubs themselves for losing leads in both Game 6 (the Bartman game) and Game 7. But for the record both Kerry Wood, the pitcher, and Moises himself hit homeruns in Game 7. It didn’t matter how well they did, the Curse of the Billy Goat was alive and well and we will see how it plays out, will the Back to the Future prediction overcome the curse?