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Bartman’s 2nd chance

Matt Gamber | Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Editors Note: This is the first of a two-part series that will conclude with an extended gloat when the Cubs clinch their first World Series title since 1908. Date: TBD.

It’s that time of year again, Steve Bartman.

You know, that time of year when the Cubs are in the postseason, expectations are as high as (insert grossly inappropriate analogy here), and it all goes to hell faster than you can say “fan interference”.

But this year’s installment of the “Lovable Losers” appears ready to take on all comers: Dodgers, Phillies, Angels, Red Sox, billy goats, black cats and, yes, Bartman himself.

Moises Alou, the Cubs leftfielder who lost the battle with Bartman for the now-disintegrated fateful foul ball (how a professional baseball player who “toughens” his hands the way Alou reportedly does can lose that tussle to a consultant with goofy glasses and even goofier headphones is both beyond me and beside the point), has exonerated Bartman.

The sensible members of Cubs Nation have done the same. So have I – though as someone who put a hole in a door during Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS, I no longer consider myself “sensible”.

Just because people “forgive” (debatable), that doesn’t mean they forget. But if the Cubs do somehow win the title (more debatable), those Wrigleyville junkies might celebrate just long enough for memories of you to finally fade.

Bartman, you can’t let that happen.

So, Steve-O, consider this October your re-coming out party, if you will. I have a few ideas for your five-year anniversary encore presentation that just might stop those Cubbies (because the Dodgers sure can’t):

1) Wear an Alex Gonzalez (the Cubs shortstop truly to blame for the 2003 collapse because he botched a sure double-play ball) jersey, sarcastically honoring the man who tried to steal your glory just minutes after you burst onto the scene. Better yet, paint his name and number on your bare back – you’re a celebrity, after all, so show some skin.

2) Hijack the microphone during the famed “Seventh Inning Stretch”. Who’s singing doesn’t matter – it’s time for you to steal the show. Fumble the lyrics for good measure.

3) On your way back from belting out “Root, root, root for the Dodgers”, grab the toupee off the head of Ron Santo (the Cubs legend and radio broadcaster) and make a display of rolling it down an aisle. It won’t shock anyone, but it might send those 75-year old Santo-loving female ushers running for a souvenir long enough for you to sneak down to the lower levels for your next stunt.

4) You’ve spent too much time in the stands – get on the field, that’s where all the action is! Go crazy – tackle Ryan Dempster (don’t mess with Big Z) as he jogs to the mound, do a jig with fellow ND alum Jeff Samardzija, tickle that life form Sweet Lou Piniella’s hiding under his jersey, anything to cause a ruckus. It’s what you do best.

You only get so many chances to make your mark, Steve. You made the most of the last one – do you still have it in you?