I just finished watching MLB Network’s “7th Greatest Game” special on the 2003 NLCS game 6 between the Cubs and Marlins. I had to. I watched that game as it happened. I have been a life-long Cubs fan. My daughter had just been born about 2 months before and my birthday was in two days. There was a lot of emotion there Almost 8 years on and it still was tough to watch.
I have been a Cubs fan my whole life. I even got a chance to see a playoff game when the Cubs and Braves met up in the 1998 NLDS. 2003 looked like it was finally going to be the Cubs’ year. They were on a roll in the playoffs. Game 6 brought the series back to Wrigley Field and ace Mark Prior was going to be on the mound. What could possibly go wrong? Well, in my opinion a foul ball.
If you haven’t heard of the infamous Steve Bartman or haven’t seen the play go check it out first (fast forward to 2:20 into the video). A lot of discussion in the show centered around this play, the call by the umpire, and the reaction of Moises Alou. The guys on the show came to the conclusion that Alou’s reaction is what turned the game and I completely agree. Had that not happened it was a routine foul ball and an already season-and-evening-tired Mark Prior quite possibly gets out of the inning. But that play changed the entire tone of the game, the atmosphere in the park, and the Cubs never recovered.
5 outs away and they blew it. It took me about 2 weeks to get over it. I haven’t approached a Cubs season quite the same ever since even in the later years when they made it to the playoffs two years in a row.
I have to admit this show got me a bit emotional. Not tear-inducing emotional but it brought back some of the feeling of that night. Watching how Steve Bartman was escorted out of the park afterwards was awful. The guy was clearly terrified. I remember being furious at that guy for a bit after that play but quickly realized it was never his fault. There was no reason he should have been treated that way. This many years later I hope most people realize it was never his fault. Blame Alou if anyone. His reaction turned a routine foul ball into a series-changer.