Note - This is from my blog at Gather.com
The most hated person in the city of Chicago since Mrs. O'Leary may be returning to the scene of the crime.
Steve Bartman. Yes, THAT one. The one that interfered with then-Cubs left fielder Moises Alou in game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, sending the Florida Marlins to their second World Series, may be coming back. According to the Orlando Sentinel and WBBM AM in Chicago, Bartman will be paid a sum of $25,000 to sign one autograph at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., at 1 p.m. on July 31, prove his identity and sign a photograph of the infamous play. It will then be auctioned on the Web site with the proceeds going to a Chicago-based charity.
In 2004, the ball that caused so much trouble was destroyed at Harry Caray's Restaurant in downtown Chicago and later added into pasta sauce at the famed eatery. No part of the ball was in the sauce per se and it was later boiled and distilled before going into the sauce.
Bartman is still a recluse and still fears for his safety but Mike Berkus, who is the co-executive director of the National, says that security at the event will be available for Bartman if he needs it to the event and then wherever he goes afteward.
In the half-decade since the incident, he's turned down several book offers and inteviews, knowing that he is the most hated person in the Windy City. If he does show up, it will be interesting. Even current Illinois governor Rod Blagojvech suggested that he go into the Witness Protection Program. His family has changed addresses and phone numbers because of harrasing phone calls.
Steve Bartman has been compared to the Billy Goat that was not allowed into the friendly confines on the corner of Sheffield and Waveland in 1945 and the black cat that crossed the Cubs path at Shea Stadium in 1969. The Bartman seat (Aisle 4, Row 8, Seat 113) has become a tourist attraction at Wrigley Field. For Cubs fans, it's their grassy knoll, their Ford's Theatre, if you will.
Bartman may show up. He may not. It will be interesting to see what happens. $25,000 is a hell of a lot of money to leave on the table. I'd take it. Would you?