When he reached up to attempt to catch a foul ball during the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, Cubs fan Steve Bartman inadvertently caused a chain reaction that ended with his team losing and he was cast as the most hated sports fan. Nearly 17 years later, director Alex Gibney sheds light on the incident and how the media fueled an unwarranted scapegoating of a man who simply wanted to cheer on his team.
Gibney’s documentary is as much about the fans that surrounded Bartman as it is about the man himself. The film carries a tone that is both respectful and honest, and it should serve as a reminder of the impact of fan behavior on a public level. It’s also a look at the complexities of being a baseball fan, which is something that every fan should consider when watching their favorite teams.
The film sheds tons of new light on the incident, including interviews with the fans that were seated nearby, as well as video from the scene. It’s also a reminder that baseball is more than just a sport; it’s an escape from the daily drudgeries of life. It’s an emotional and almost spiritual experience, and when your team wins you celebrate with them, but when they lose you take the scars with you.