The Cubs erased 108 years of misery by ending the longest championship drought in major U.S. professional sports last year by defeating the Indians in a thrilling World Series Game 7. That 8-7 victory launched massive celebrations in Chicago and soothed the pain of so many failures of the past century-plus.
The most infamous of their recent failures was in the 2003 NLCS against the Florida Marlins, and the poster boy for Cubs misery was Steve Bartman reaching out to catch a ball over the outstretched glove of Moises Alou, who threw a fit in the outfield as the ball bounced away. The Cubs went on to lose the game and the series, thus ending their best chance in decades at ending their title drought.
Bartman became the most infamous fan in sports and was forced to go into hiding to avoid the death threats and hatred he received from Cubs fans who needed to make him the scapegoat of their frustrations with a team that made plenty of mistakes on their own to lose that series. The Bartman ball was purchased and blown up by a Chicago bar to exorcise the demons of that game, but in recent years — now more than a decade removed from the incident — there’s been a push to apologize to Bartman for the demonization of his relatively innocent act of reaching out for a fly ball.
On Monday, it was announced that the Cubs would do their part to mend fences with their once most hated fan by presenting him with a 2016 championship ring. The Cubs released an image of Bartman’s ring, along with a statement to WGN as to why they wanted to give him a ring.