As the regular season wraps up Chicago Cubs Nation begins to think about and all the years that they've been so close to winning it all only to have their hopes dashed. It's been a very long time. The most recent iteration of "The Billy Goat Curse" is a man named Steve Bartman.
This is, perhaps, the most painful one for Cubbie fans because it was one of their own that did them in. Leading three nothing Moises Alou tracks a fowl-ball pop-up by Luis Castillo over toward the stands in the eighth inning.
Cubbies come unglued.
No World Series. Again.
Steve Bartman becomes the most hated man in Chicago. He gets hate mail. He gets death threats. Word gets out that he works at Hewitt Associates in Lincolnshire, ill and the hate follows him there.
But this story isn't about Steve Bartman...it's about my brother Steve Martin.
Steve Bartman's name is broadcast on the news that night. Then, through the power of the Internet, people find out that he is employed at Hewitt Associates. Message boards go crazy. Some savvy individuals even uncover his direct line.
However, as word of mouth spreads this information around Chicagoland it gets diluted: The screw up his name and they don't give the right extension. You gotta love the mob mentality run-a-muck.
People get the right company but when many don't have the correct extension they are directed into a voice-mail system that allows the user to say the person's last name. Some of the less-than-articulate-North Siders mumble the last name to the automated agent and it directs the caller to my brother Steve's office.
The calls trickle in at first and my brother politely tells them that they have the wrong guy. Some jello-spined fans simply shout obscenities and slam the down the phone. After a fair amount of abuse he simply lets it ring through to voice-mail.
We always joke that my brother, if he didn't like working with the other Steve, could have simply just yelled back at the callers, "Yeah, I interfered and I meant to do it. All Cub fans are idiots. Now go to Hell!!" and slammed the phone down.
The true irony of this episode is that my brother and I grew up in Seattle and are Mariners fans, and, consequently, Lou Pinella fans. I'll be rooting for the Cubbies come this fall.