Chicago Cub fans are living in a strange new world these days. They're World Series Champions. The curse is over and expectations for the team remain high. 14 years ago Cub fans were five outs away from heading to the World Series. But fate and one unlucky fan got in the way.

 

Steve Bartman became the most infamous Cubs fan in history. After his run in with Moises Alou, he became enemy number one in Chicago. The Cubs went on to lose game six and seven to miss out on the World Series. Bartman received death threats. He literally went into hiding and hasn't been seen in public since.

Flash forward to 2016. The Cubs defeat Cleveland and win the World Series. After passing out rings at a ceremony earlier this season, the organization decided they had one more to hand out. To Steve Bartman.

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WGN reports that the Cubs presented Bartman with his very own World Series ring and even gave him a tour of Wrigley Field recently. Bartman then issued the following statement.

 

Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations. Most meaningful is the genuine outreach from the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organization and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.

I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society. My hope is that we all can learn from my experience to view sports as entertainment and prevent harsh scapegoating, and to challenge the media and opportunistic profiteers to conduct business ethically by respecting personal privacy rights and not exploit any individual to advance their own self-interest or economic gain.

Moreover, I am hopeful this ring gesture will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved. To that end, I request the media please respect my privacy, and the privacy of my family. I will not participate in interviews or further public statements at this time.

Words alone cannot express my heartfelt thanks to the Ricketts family, Crane Kenney, Theo Epstein, and the entire Cubs organization for this extraordinary gift, and for providing the City of Chicago and Cubs fans everywhere an unforgettable World Championship in 2016. I am happy to be reunited with the Cubs family and positively moving forward with my life.

What a truly classy move by the Cubs organization. Steve Bartman should have never been blamed for the Cubs losing 14 years ago. At least now the organization is helping him put the past behind him. Despite all this, don't expect Steve Bartman day at Wrigley Field anytime soon. The Chicago resident remains out of the public eye to this day. Enjoy the ring, Steve. You earned it.

 

[via CBS2, WGN]