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Wednesday · October 15 2003

The unforgettable 8th inning play involving Moises Alou and a fan in the first row was unfortunate. Alou was unable to make the catch for the 2nd out of the inning and he was hopping mad. The whole team was clearly shaken and disturbed with the fan's (unofficial) interference on the play. Mark Prior, the young cub ace believed by many to have ice in his veins, lost his cool and walked the next batter before giving up a string of hits. Alex Gonzalez, the Gold Glove candidate shortstop, mishandled Cabrera's hard grounder that could have been an inning ending double play. Dusty Baker did not come to the mound, gather his team, and settle his boys down when they needed it most. The Marlins put together a run of clutch hits and outperformed the Cubs in the 8th inning even if the Cubs outperformed them in the other 8.

None of this was the fan's fault. The event was unfortunate for the Cubs and their wish to finish the series tuesday night. But the event was more unfortunate for the fan himself by an order of magnitude. Angry drunks are probably still prowling Wrigleyville this morning looking to vent their hate and frustration on a guy who will feel the consequences of that 8th inning play for a long, long time to come. His immediate future in Chicago is ruined. If you don't believe me or think I'm overstating, look up Jeffery Maier who, in 1996 as a 12 year old kid, snatched a home run ball from just above the glove of the Orioles outfielder. He helped his home town team and he has never escaped being known as "that kid who turned an out into a homer for the Yankees."

If you were that fan, what would you do? I suppose he can move to Miami. He'll receive death threats, ridicule, and dark fame from a legion of fans too blind to place the blame where it belongs: the players. No matter what anyone tells you about curses and destiny and karma in baseball, there are athletes on the field whose job it is to perform and win under any circumstances. Alou, Prior, Sosa and the rest of this 2003 team will still collect their paychecks and play baseball for a living.

If they fail tonight, they'll suffer some shame and be derided for "choking" and "blowing it". But they are 25 players with charmed professional lives working in a ballpark that is used to waiting for next year. They'll shoulder the weight and sting of their failures together as a team. That fan is all alone. He's a target. And it's not his fault.

Nobody will be praying for a Cub victory tonight more than that fan. With a win, he fades into the background as a footnote: "The fan who almost ruined it in 2003". Baseball is just a game, but the outcome of game 7 means everything to that fan.

Archived: Cubs » October 2003
What you had to say:
October 15 2003

Oh I dunno, he could get hair extensions and contacts, change his name and credit information...then he could probably stay in Chicago.

That poor guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

October 15 2003

The Smoking Gun somehow found out the fan's name! He's already disconnected his home phone.
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/cubfan1.html

October 15 2003

Everyone has his name: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs2003/news/story?id=1638663

That link leads to an ESPN article. Interesting.

In law school, we ask what the 'reasonable person' would do. I look around and guess that 90% of the people I know would do the same thing this fan did. Does that make it right? Doesn't really matter. He did what most of us would do, not should do. tough break for this guy.

October 15 2003

I'm guessing he sits at home tonight with some key friends & family & prays to the great baseball gods for a Cubs win ... with one hand on the phone, ready to dial a moving company.

My anger from last night has subsided to pity, but I still can't get over the shock of watching a downward spiral with that much momentum.

Good post & have a freaking blast at the game tonight, man!

October 16 2003

I totally agree with what you said. 99% of the people who were screaming at him are hypocrites. This haloween, expect to see hundreds of people dressed like him. He will never be able to enjoy a Cubs game again. No one seems to remember the guy you mentioned who passively interfered with a foul ball in either the first or second game. In that sistuation, it was right near home plate and he could easily see that the catcher was trying to get it. Nobody knows who that guy is ... not by his actions, but because the Cubs didn't blow it after they lost that opportunity for an out!

And the Sun Times should be ashamed of itself for publishing his name and workplace. It was bound to come out, but a newspaper shouldn't have had a hand in it. Their was nothing newsworthy in his name and workplace. It was purely sensational, in the pursuit of selling papers and not reporting the news.

October 16 2003

The Sun Times is a rag and will always be a piece of shit rag. They're not the only ones, though. Fox news, ESPN, and many other media outlets were grossly irresponsible in their handling of this situation. I'm not exaggerating when I say that they make me sick to my stomach.

I'm also sickened by the amount of people who think they are hilarious by making photoshopped images of the guy with their own hateful jokes (targets on his head, wanted posters, etc). You'll never convince me that that sort of thing is funny. But that's just me.

If the fan in left field didn't touch the ball, there were 2 other guys right there waiting to do the same thing he did. Alou's reaction (while understandable since he is a competitor who wants to win more than any fan does) unfortunately made it all worse. And the timing made it unbearable.

© 2003 Jason Keglovitz