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Interfering fan a Notre Dame grad

Andrew Soukup | Thursday, October 16, 2003

Television cameras captured the image of That Fan reaching up to deflect a foul ball away from the glove of Cubs outfielder Moises Alou Tuesday. His face was broadcast instantly across the nation, depicted on newspaper after newspaper and mocked on ESPN’s SportsCenter, as everyone tried to pin the Cubs 8-3 loss on That Fan.

Not until the Chicago Sun-Times named him in the paper’s Wednesday editions did the sporting world learn that That Fan was a 26-year-old Notre Dame graduate.

Steve Bartman, a self-described lifelong Cubs fan, lived in Keenan Hall and graduated from Notre Dame in 1999 with a degree in finance. When he arrived at Wrigley Field Tuesday, he was employed as a consultant for Hewitt Associates. Bartman, on the advice of the company’s human resources department, did not come to work Wednesday.

Bartman became an infamous part of Cubs history when he reached up to try to catch a foul ball in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game when the Cubs led 3-0. He deflected the ball away from Alou and the Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning, leading many to blame the Notre Dame graduate for the loss. Bartman was escorted from his seat by Cubs officials for his own safety as fans hurled beers at him, with one saying “You cost us the World Series” and others saying “Kill him,” according to the Associated Press.

The Cubs lost 9-6 to the Marlins in Game 7 Wednesday and extended their World Series-less streak to 58 years.

In a statement Wednesday, Bartman, who coaches a youth baseball team in Chicago, apologized for trying to catch the ball and said he wouldn’t have done so if he had known Alou was going for the ball, adding he was “truly sorry from the bottom of this Cubs fan’s heart.

Bartman quickly became the butt of jokes nationwide, with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich saying he wouldn’t pardon Bartman if he ever got accused of a crime and a Florida oceanfront resort offering him a free three-month stay.