This photo provided by the Chicago Cubs baseball team shows a 2016 World Series championship ring the team announced Monday, July 31, 2017, they were giving to Steve Bartman, the fan remembered for deflecting a foul ball that appeared destined to land in left fielder Moises Alou's glove with Chicago five outs from the World Series in 2003. (Chicago Cubs via AP)
Wednesday, August 02, 2017 1:00 am
The ring of redemption
There are two moments no living Chicago Cubs fan will ever forget. One was in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series when a fan named Steve Bartman reflexively reached for a foul ball and may have prevented Cubs left fielder Moises Alou from catching it.
Unnerved by the latest sign the fates were aligned against them, the Cubs went on to lose the game to the then-Florida Marlins.
Bartman, a lifelong Cubs fan, was angrily condemned by Alou, then by the crowd at Wrigley Field, and then, seemingly, by the world.
Bartman became the symbol not just of one failed season but of a century of disappointment.
The second memory, of course, was of the Cubs' 2016 World Series championship, the team's first since 1908.
Monday, the Cubs announced they were giving a World Series ring to Bartman as a gesture of closure to a loyal fan who has suffered more than enough for an honest mistake.
Alexander Pope, who died 95 years before the game of baseball was invented, nonetheless would have understood the Cubs' classy gesture to their long-vilified fan.
“To err is human,” Pope wrote. “To forgive, divine.”