Grabby Fan’s Fifteen Minutes

To Chicago’s infamous “grabby fan:” welcome to your fifteen minutes of fame.

Less than a week after an overly enthustiastic Cubs fan deflected a foul pop hit by Florida’s Luis Castillo, allowing the Marlins to come back and win the game (and eventually the playoff series), Revolution Studios (owned by 20th Century Fox, the same company that broadcasts major league baseball) has accepted a pitch for a movie based on the fan’s experiences according to cnn.com.

Chicago Cubs fans have been waiting for over fifty years for their team to return to the World Series (the Cubs haven’t won the Series since 1908), and because the fan deflected what might have been a key out, he has become Chicago’s latest villain. Several Chicago papers also released the fan’s name (when I first saw the fan’s last name, Bartman, I immediately thought of Bart Simpson’s alter ego, which somehow seems apt), forcing him to change his phone number and basically go into hiding.

As Jason points out, the collective frustration of Cubs fans has produced some strong reactions (including an elected official who’d like to see the “grabby fan” exiled to Alaska). To be honest, I’m apparently one of the few people outside of south Florida who was cheering for the Marlins, mostly because of my own sour grapes. But when I lived near Chicago during graduate school (in both Illinois and Indiana), I generally preferred the White Sox instead of the Cubs. I think it was their outsider status, the fact that the Cubs generally received a lot more press in the city’s newspapers.

Anyway, I hope “grabby fan” endures (“enjoys” might be too much to ask) his brief fame. After all, as Cubs fans know well, there’s always next year, and with their talented pitchers, I think the Cubs will be competitive for a long time.

4 Comments »

  1. Jason Said,

    October 17, 2003 @ 12:13 pm

    For a combination of bad reasons, I managed to make it to more White Sox games than Cubs games, even though Wrigley was right down the street. Any affection I had for the White Sox was extracted tortuously by “New Comiskey”–easily one of the worst new arenas of any sport built in the past 15 years. Just knowing the team was playing in it has made the team impossible to watch.

  2. chuck Said,

    October 17, 2003 @ 12:37 pm

    “New Comiskey” had the very bad luck of being among the first of the new wave of nostalgia ballparks before builders realized how unappealing the old symmetrical concrete monoliths actually were. I think they tried to add some of that nostalgic charm, but it doesn’t quite work in Comiskey.

    It’s certainly an ugly place. I never saw a game there, but I drove past it several times and the outfield bleachers just looked scary. The White Sox have never really learned the lessons of publicizing their team either (but that could be the Cubs’ good luck of picking appealing players).

  3. Jason Said,

    October 17, 2003 @ 4:51 pm

    Some of it’s definitely luck: “The Big Hurt” should’ve been a natural for Chicago, but Frank Thomas never could understand the fickleness of the media and fans.

    And, of course, some of it’s self-inflicted: Trading away the apparently infinitely-appealing Sosa to the Cubs is classic Reinsdorf.

    When I was there, at least, some Chicago fans were punishing the White Sox for the way Reinsdorf handled the breakup of the Bulls, too.

  4. chuck Said,

    October 17, 2003 @ 7:57 pm

    Yeah, I never quite understood why Thomas never clicked with the Chicago fans. I think you’re right that Reinsdorf might be a big part of the problem.

    I’d guess the Cubs announcers (especially Harry Caray) probably helped, too. I remember first getting cable in the mid-1980s and while I didn’t exactly think H.C. was the best announcer, I somehow understood his status as a Chicago institution.

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