As such, it's probably no surprise that ESPN has announced that it has commissioned an hour-long documentary on Steve Bartman as part of its upcoming "30 for 30" series. It'll be directed by Alex Gibney, the writer-director who hit it big with "Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room."
With the news, it seems clear that ESPN is intent on using every usable part of the 2003 NLCS scapegoat, even though the network claims that Gibney's main objective will be to answer the following question:
"Can Bartman ever forgive Chicago?"
Look, there's no doubt that Chicago was none too happy with Bartman in the days following Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. I was in Wrigleyville then and the bars were packed with folks carrying signs that said things like, "Screw the goat, Bring us the jackass!" Even today, I count myself as someone who thinks Bartman and those around him should have known full well what the situation was — "Five more outs! Five more outs!" the crowd was chanting — no matter if a souvenir from Luis Castillo(notes) was flying their way.
But almost six years after Moises Alou(notes) approached that left field wall, people have truly mellowed and even come to respect Bartman for all the guff he's been given. Today, you're likely to find 100 reasonable folks willing to finger Alex Gonzalez, Mark Prior(notes) or Dusty Baker for every misguided soul who still wants Bartman's head on a platter.
And in an age where everyone's looking for their 15 minutes of fame and fortune, no matter how low they have to stoop to get it, I find Bartman's silence and willing withdrawal into the shadows both courageous and extremely admirable. He deserves to be left alone.
Then again, most everyone has left him alone, with the exception of one organization who had a reporter stake out his home and workplace two years after the fact, as if he were a disgraced public official or CEO facing an imminent indictment.
I don't think I have to tell you which organization that was, either.
- Alex Gibney