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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Baseball fan feels Chicago's fury
Bartman (centre) deflects the ball
Bartman: I am so truly sorry from the bottom of this Cubs fan's heart
Chicago hates him, Florida loves him and Alaska maybe awaits him - it has been a bad week for Chicago Cubs baseball fan Steve Bartman.

By trying to catch a foul ball from his seat in the stands, Mr Bartman denied his team the chance of a winning catch against the Florida Marlins.

The Cubs' dream of winning their first World Series since 1908 rapidly receded - and with it Mr Bartman.

He has been in hiding since Tuesday's match to escape his city's anger.

During that game, he stuck his hand out just as a Cubs fielder was poised to catch an out ball.

He blocked the catch, and the shaken Cubs proceeded to drop from a 3-0 lead to an 8-3 defeat - a bitter loss compounded at playoffs on Wednesday when the Marlins won 9-6 to win the series.

He can apply for asylum in the Sunshine State
Jeb Bush
governor of Florida

Mr Bartman's ill-fated intervention - for which he has humbly apologised - has brought down a wave of contempt on his head, from abuse and spitting by fellow fans in Wrigley Field stadium as he was escorted out on Tuesday to a campaign to ridicule him on the internet.

One Cubs fan parodied an FBI "Ten most wanted" poster on the net with Mr Bartman's picture on it.

"Considered ignorant and extremely stupid," the poster reads. "Wanted for "interfering with crucial play... breaking the heart of an entire city."

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a picture of his intervention under the headline "Curses".

Scapegoat?

The Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, joined in the jibing with an offer to get Mr Bartman a spot in a witness protection programme.

Steve Bartman after his unlucky intervention
Some fans said they could have made the same mistake as Steve Bartman
One city alderman, Tom Allen, suggested he "move to Alaska".

Down in Florida, Governor Jeb Bush could not resist offering political asylum to the man who had helped the Marlins to victory.

"I promise we will expedite his safe passage," he said.

Amid all the ridicule, the only crumb of comfort Steve Bartman may draw is the knowledge that his team was "cursed" from the outset anyway.

According to a Cubs legend, a fan with a pet billy goat who was turned away from the stadium in 1945 laid a curse on the team.

"They've got the curse of a goat or something, right," Gerardo Pena, a Florida Marlins fan, commented to AP news agency.

"I guess this guy is their new goat."


SEE ALSO:
Baseball fan dares to hope
07 Oct 03  |  Americas


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