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Did Steve Bartman, a quiet, unassuming man in the front row of the right-field grandstand at Wrigley Field during Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, actually screw over the Chicago Cubs? It doesn’t matter. A dozen fans jumped for that foul ball but Bartman was closest, damning him for life at the once-friendly confines. Adding to ESPN’s lauded “30 for 30” series, Alex Gibney takes his methodical analysis to the most recent insult in the Cubs’ century of failure. All signs in fact suggest Moises Alou, an otherwise middling outfielder, would have leapt to the catch of his career had Bartman not touched the ball first. Of course, the Florida Marlins then scored eight runs in that inning, enabled more by a bobbled ground ball than any fan interference. But true fandom is visceral, not logical. The Cubs continue to falter, and Bartman now lives in total anonymity. It took Gibney’s beloved Boston Red Sox slaying their 86-year-old demons in 2004 for fans to finally forgive Bill Buckner for a crucial error in 1986. If the Cubbies ever win, perhaps Bartman can emerge from the shadows.
Friday, June 24 at 4:30 p.m. at the AFI Silver 1; also on Sunday, June 26 at 9:15 a.m. at the AFI Silver 2.