Revisiting the Steve Bartman Incident in the 2003 NLCS That Reminded Us the Cubs Were Cursed

The Steve Bartman incident solidified the Cubs as a cursed sports franchise.
The Steve Bartman incident solidified the Cubs as a cursed sports franchise. /

Before 2016, the Chicago Cubs were the lovable losers. They were the oldest and one of the most popular teams in Major League Baseball, but for a majority of their existence, they could never get the job done when it mattered most. 2003 was the epitome of said misfortune.

The Cubbies managed to reach the NLCS, against a ragtag Florida Marlins team, and held a 3-2 series lead entering Game 6. Chicago held a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning and the Marlins couldn't get anything going. That all changed once Luis Castillo hit a routine pop up along the left field stands. Moises Alou was on the verge of securing the catch, but then a fan named Steve Bartman interfered.

Alou was furious at the headphone-wearing Bartman, because if he secured the catch, the Cubs would be four outs away from reaching the Fall Classic. To be fair, he wasn't the only fan reaching for the ball, but it was Bartman who significantly hindered Alou's ability to catch the ball.

That unfortunate event allowed the Marlins to come back to life and score eight runs in the inning to tie the series at three games apiece. In Game 7, Florida carried the momentum and buried the Cubs' hopes and dreams in a 9-6 win. To make matters worse for the Cubs, the Marlins went onto defeat the New York Yankees in that year's World Series.

The Cubs could've ended a 95-year National League pennant drought, but it was all for naught. Bartman was vilified in Chicago for over the next decade and became the unofficial mascot of the Cubs' misfortunes until they finally won the World Series in 2016.

In a sign of pure class, the Cubs showed Bartman that there were no hard feelings, and rewarded him a championship ring to help put that bad part of his life behind him for good.