Steve Bartman will receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring as a gift from the Chicago and their owners, the Ricketts family, WGN is reporting.
Bartman became a pariah of the Cubs and their fan base after his interference with a foul ball during the 2003 playoffs. The Cubs went on to blow the lead in that game and a chance at going to the World Series.
After the incident, Bartman became the face of the Cubs’ seemingly never-ending failures. He received death threats, became a punchline to jokes, and was forced into seclusion.
Now, with their long sought after World Series win behind them, the Rickett family felt it was time to reach out, and gave Bartman a Championship ring in an effort to both close a chapter and let Bartman know that the organisation is thankful to have him as a fan.
It’s quite a gift, with estimates placing its value at around $US70,000.
Along with the announcement of the gift, the Cubs gave WGN an official statement, that notably acknowledges the struggle that Bartman has unfairly endured over the past 14 years:
“On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organisation, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship Ring to Mr. Steve Bartman. We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series. While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organisation. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognise Steve Bartman with this gift today.”
Bartman would also give a statement of his own, expressing his gratitude for the gesture:
“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honour, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations. Most meaningful is the genuine outreach from the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organisation and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.”
Bartman would go on further to express his hope that his story can serve as a lesson that we learn from in order to avoid such harmful scapegoating in the future, as well as add that neither he nor his family would be conducting any further interviews at the moment.
“I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society. My hope is that we all can learn from my experience to view sports as entertainment and prevent harsh scapegoating, and to challenge the media and opportunistic profiteers to conduct business ethically by respecting personal privacy rights and not exploit any individual to advance their own self-interest or economic gain.
Moreover, I am hopeful this ring gesture will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved. To that end, I request the media please respect my privacy, and the privacy of my family. I will not participate in interviews or further public statements at this time.
Words alone cannot express my heartfelt thanks to the Ricketts family, Crane Kenney, Theo Epstein, and the entire Cubs organisation for this extraordinary gift, and for providing the City of Chicago and Cubs fans everywhere an unforgettable World Championship in 2016. I am happy to be reunited with the Cubs family and positively moving forward with my life.”
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