I didn’t really ever want to write about this topic, but it seemed necessary, primarily because of this John Kass column in the Tribune, in which he states the Cubs should invite Steve Bartman to throw out a first pitch Friday for World Series Game 3.
Honestly... no. Just no. But let me elaborate, just a bit.
First, Kass is a White Sox fan, so any real credibility he has on this topic is nil.
But mainly, this sort of lame, tired mass media narrative has to end, along with talk of billy goats, black cats, ad nauseam.
Regarding Bartman, I give him all the credit in the world. He could have cashed in on his notoriety, multiple times, and did not do so. All he wanted to do was live a quiet life, and in that, he has succeeded. The company he worked for — still does, from what I understand — had to send him to their London office for a couple of years so he could avoid all the prying reporters wanting to talk to him.
Wayne Drehs of ESPN.com actually did talk to him, a couple of years later, and wrote about it. That article is surprisingly sensitive, ending with an apology, even though Drehs pretty much stalked Bartman in order to speak to him, however briefly.
But the bottom line for me is:
The Cubs won the National League Championship Series by playing better baseball than the Dodgers. They won it on the field with timely hitting, outstanding fielding and solid pitching. There weren’t any weird incidents, nothing that any writer looking for a narrative could find other than writing of Javier Baez’s fine fielding plays, Jon Lester’s lockdown pitching when the Dodgers made the silly mistake of thinking they could distract him by jumping around on the basepaths, Addison Russell’s home runs and Kyle Hendricks’ magnificent Game 6 start.
Great baseball. The way championship baseball teams are supposed to win, and this Cubs team did. That’s what should be written about and immortalized, now and for all time. None of the players, coaches, manager or management cared one bit about those other narratives. They just went out and played winning baseball. It was glorious.
My final point, and I’ll make this mercifully brief: The time to speak of silly things like goats and black cats, and incidents such as the unfortunate one in 2003, is over, gone, done. Forever and ever. The previous teams didn’t miss out for those reasons. They never made the World Series because they weren’t good enough, full stop. The Chicago Cubs were the best team in baseball in 2016, and are in the World Series, because... well, because they played better baseball than anyone else in their league, full stop.
I know I’ve been celebrating that and will continue to do so, and you will too. The Cubs are heading to Cleveland to play the Indians in the World Series. That’s the only thing of consequence: winning four more games and becoming the World Series champions of 2016.
There’s your narrative for the next week. Nothing else matters. The rest of it is just noise.