The story of the Chicago Cubs’ 108-season wait for a World Series championship, which ended last fall, was partly about a goat: Legend had it that an angry goat owner had put a hex on the team back in 1945.
The story of the aftermath of the Cubs’ championship is partly about a scapegoat.
It’s at once a heartbreaking, and a heartwarming, tale.
Many of the team’s followers bitterly blamed a fellow fan, Steve Bartman, for the team’s stunning collapse in a 2003 playoff game in which the Cubs were but five outs from returning to the Series for the first time since 1908. Trying to catch a foul ball, as most of us would have, Bartman deflected it away from a Cubs player who might’ve caught it. The play changed the course of the game and franchise.
Bartman felt so bad, and was so mercilessly harassed and hounded, that he has largely been out of sight since.
On Monday, though, the Cubs announced he would be getting one of the team’s World Series rings from last year’s win.
What fanatical fandom has done to this poor guy is nothing short of tragic. The team’s gesture in embracing him is nothing short of magic.