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Chicago Cubs fans have earned a reputation as being loveable losers; Harry Caray devotees who seem to take a perverse joy in their team's foibles. Though Cubs fans are remarkable in the extent of their loyalty, even through decades of hopelessness, a number of incidents have marred the good name of Cubs fans.
Cubs fans have hit opposing players in order to steal their hats (Dodgers bullpen catcher Chad Kreuter in 2000) and recklessly charged the field as a result of angry feelings toward their own pitcher (Cubs relief pitcher Randy Myers in 1995), but nothing compares to what they have done to one of their own, Steve Bartman.
The tale of Steve Bartman has been told many times. In Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, a pop fly foul ball was hit along the third base side, and Bartman, a diehard Cubs fan, innocently reached up to catch a foul ball. His reach contributed to Moises Alou missing the catch, and the ball dropped foul, allowing the batter to continue his at bat.
Normally this would be the end of the story, but the Cubs then went on to walk the batter, give up a single, commit an error, give up a double, an intentional walk, a sacrifice fly, a missed cutoff man, another intentional walk, a double and a single, before the Cubs got out of the inning. This effectively ended the game, and the Cubs lost. Though the Cubs had another chance in Game 7, the life had been taken out of them, and they lost the series to the Florida Marlins.
Yes, Bartman's reach was unfortunate, and had Alou caught the ball things would have ended differently, but the Cubs had plenty of chances to put the game away, and they failed at each one of them. Yet Cubs fans have mercilessly hounded Bartman ever since, to the point that Bartman now lives in seclusion to a degree that would have made J.D. Salinger jealous.
What makes the Cubs fans behavior so atrocious is that unlike Jeffrey Maier or other notorious fans, Bartman was actually a devout fan of the home team and was doing what the great majority of fans would do in the same situation. Yet Cubs fans have selectively forgotten about the errors and poor pitching that followed the incident, and instead blamed Bartman for the disappointment.
Cubs fans are loyal and supportive of their team through good and bad times, but their treatment of Steve Bartman alone earns them a place on this.