And when he showed up to Wrigley Field that Tuesday night for Game 6 of the National League Championship Series and settled into Aisle 4, Row 8, Seat 113, he did so with no expectation that his life would be changed forever by the time he left.
Had the same play happened on a cool April night or a sweltering August afternoon, it would have been written off as little more than a frustrating, but not uncommon, case of unintentional fan interference rather than the moment the Cubs’ so-called curse reared its ugly head again.
Then after Prior’s next pitch got past catcher Paul Bako, putting runners on the corners with one out, the crowd began to turn on Bartman too, chanting expletives and tossing whatever they could find in his direction.
Florida then added five more runs to push their lead to 8-3 before Castillo finally ended the inning with a pop-out to second that was nine batters overdue.
The Cubs, the best on-paper team left in the postseason field, are coming off a 103-win season — good for the franchise’s best winning percentage since 1935 — and will kick off the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night.