Would it be wise of Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs to reach out to Steve Bartman so he can throw the ceremonial first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series? No, and it’s not very realistic for anyone to have those expectations, either.
Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis‘ heart may be in the right place, as are his intentions in wanting the infamous Steve Bartman to once again reappear in the public eye, but his expectations are unrealistic. The World Series heads back to Wrigley Field on Friday evening in Chicago, with the series tied at one apiece.
Kipnis, as mentioned in the FOX article, grew up a Cubs fan and lived in Bartman’s neighborhood. He saw firsthand the affect it had on the lifelong Cubs fan — everything from police details outside his home to misplaced verbal threats from enraged Cubs fans.
It could carry with it the potential for a beautiful moment shared by an international television audience and the Wrigley faithful, but it could also further harm Bartman’s image in the media. The Chicago Cubs have not won anything yet, except for a National League Championship Series.
And that’s not to take anything away from them. It was a huge hurdle for the franchise to get over, but it’s the World Series drought dating back to 1908 that is truly under the microscope now.
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After a poor showing by the Cubs in Game 1 at Progressive Field in which they were shutout 6-0 and struck out 15 times, Chicago heads home to Wrigley having evened the series with a 5-1 win on Wednesday night, thanks in large part to a strong outing by Jake Arrieta in Game 2.
For Kipnis to think calling on Bartman in Game 3 would be full of warm fuzzy moments might not be true. Surely if he did appear to throw the ceremonial pitch and the Cubs ended up losing the World Series or even that game, the media and fans would likely spin a new curse storyline out of that.
It’s the last thing the city of Chicago or Bartman himself would want. Instead, Bartman will cheer for his Cubs in isolation as he has done for the last decade plus.
As per one of Bartman’s close confidants, Frank Murtha, was recently quoted when speaking to USA Today, saying:
"‘[Steve] just wants everybody, moving forward, to respect his privacy and let his life continue to unfold as the grand plan has it. Unimpeded by things that … have been blown out of proportion. Steve became the perfect cover for bad baseball and bad managing of baseball. It’s safe to say Steve will not be in attendance.’"
Unless this is a cover by Murtha to hide a huge publicity stunt by the Chicago Cubs in which all in attendance at Wrigley Field and watching from their televisions could experience one of the more interesting moments in baseball’s 21st century as Bartman takes the mound shortly before opening pitch on Friday, Jason Kipnis can lay his wish to rest.
Assuredly, the aforementioned will not be happening. The Chicago Cubs are focused on winning their first World Series in over 100 years. They don’t want to concern or distract the organization with sideshows pertaining to fans and the media.
Bartman will be cheering for the Cubs, and Chicago will be trying to win for Bartman and the millions of other Cubs faithful across the world. Kipnis should be focused on baseball and potentially bringing the same experience to Indians fans, not the circus surrounding events from 2003.