Today's Motley Fool poll shows that two-thirds of readers are too heart-broken by the Chicago Cubs and/or Boston Red Sox losses to care about the coming Marlins vs. Yankees World Series. That's bad news for Fox
The 2003 playoffs will go down in history as among the most exciting yet, but despite all the fan heartbreak, there's only one spectator out there who truly experienced a life-changing event: Steve Bartman. As Motley Fool writer Rex Moore said in Fool HQ yesterday, Bartman is going to be written about decades from now, on the day he leaves this earth, as the man who -- headphones and hat crowded atop his head -- reached out, eyes half-open, and awkwardly swatted for a foul ball that seemed to move in slow motion.
The moment that changed Cubs baseball forever (again) was caught on film from almost every angle and will be viewed again and again for generations. Yet, nobody has mentioned the incredibly lucky man beside Bartman, in a grey sweatshirt with a blue stripe, also reaching for the ball -- a mere one seat away from the scorn of a city. His name was probably Dornlichtbitsburg, or some other easily forgettable name. Bartman, on the other hand, is a name nobody could forget. The name burns into your memory the way Kidman does. Or Cruise. (Admittedly, with different connotations.)
Today, Bartman's name could be instant currency. Partly for this reason, we have some financial advice for Bartman, who, at 26, should have decades of good living ahead of him.
First, Bartman, your heartfelt apology to Cub fans around the world was a kind gesture at the time, but now it's time to get tough. As one open letter to you argues, it wasn't your fault that the Cubs -- which have had me as a fan for 20 years -- choked yet again. Nobody scored on the foul ball. Only one man was on base. Bad pitching and mistakes in the field several plays later led to eight Marlin runs crossing the plate. But you're easy to blame, Bartman. And let's be honest: It's fun to have someone to blame who's just a normal Joe. It wouldn't be nearly as fun to blame the team itself.
But if you don't do something assertive, Bartman, you're just going to be the goat who ruined the Cubs 2003 season -- and every season to follow until they actually win the World Series, which could be 100 years from now. So, it's time you stand up and accept your new place in the world. You're no longer just an employee at Hewitt
Tell us how you've been a Cubs fan since you were a little kid. How you didn't mean to change the game. How it's really the Cubs fault. Your interference didn't knock in any runs. Get aggressive. Fan the fire. Don't take this sitting down. And make some money while you can. You and everyone else your age should be socking away $3,000 a year in a ROTH IRA.
I know, it hardly seems a time to think about money. But just think what you could have got for that baseball -- had you caught it.
(By the way, who did get it?)
You're not to blame, though, Bartman. You had no idea the Cubs could catch a ball that was over the stands. And just about everyone around you was reaching for it, too. But now that you've done it -- now that you've been thrown into the history books -- don't be apologetic. Own it. Run with it. Be strong about it. See where it takes you. And if you need financial advice, the Fool is here for you, buddy. We look dorky in hats, too.