As the Chicago Cubs celebrate their victory in the National League division series and look forward to their next round of the playoffs, it is also being noted that today is the 12th Anniversary of the infamous Steve Bartman game.
Bartman, you may recall, was the Cubs fan who interfered with a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship series. A game that the Cubs were leading, 3-0, but later lost, 8-3.
Angry, despicable fans took their frustrations out on Bartman right after the play, forcing him to leave the ballpark. And after the loss, there was a hatred that lasted for years in same cases.
But almost as despicable was the work of the Chicago Sun-Times, which published Bartman's name, address and place of employment. At the time, I was at Editor & Publisher magazine and wrote about this disgraceful misuse of journalism.
The Sun-Times told me it was considered proper journalism.
Not quite. Revealing his name and other information made him an easier target for fans who wanted to blame him for the team loss, which he had no part in.
The Society of Professional Journalists later noted the actions, calling them, "the media's foul ball."
A great ESPN 30 for 30 documentary recounted the entire episode and the detestable reaction from some fans.
It has been reported that fans are urging Bartman's return to Wrigley Field during the playoffs to accept their apologies. That would be the least they could do.
As for the Sun-Times, they are lucky they were not sued for endangering this fan's life. It has also been noted many times that Bartman made no money off of his infamy, not one dime.
But the Sun-Times did hurt their own reputation, at least in my eyes.
Whenever talk turns to Steve Bartman, I think of how unfair he was treated, but also how this major newspaper abused its power of the press.