CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis was raised on Chicago's North Side, and like so many other kids, he grew up idolizing Ryne Sandberg, watching Sammy Sosa smash home runs and listening to Harry Caray.
"We have a joke," the Indians second baseman said, referring to the infamous fan vilified in Chicago for a failed attempt to catch a postseason foul ball.
"The only thing I'm mad at Bartman for is missing an easy flyball." Kipnis was in high school when Bartman, innocently sitting in a front-row seat down the left-field field lane, became an unintentional celebrity in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series in 2003.
I was choked up, I was like, 'Oh, no, what does this mean right now?' But it's nothing more than excitement for the games." He was 11 in that magical summer of 1998 when Sosa and Mark McGwire seemed to belt a home run in every at-bat.
"In the '98 season, it was 'Hey, Sammy's up, get to a TV every time.' And on WGN there were always recaps of the games.