October 14, 2008

Remember Steve Bartman?

Five years ago (shit! has it been that long?) he became a sports legend.

Bartman's infamy has Laurie Holmes wondering what her life might be like if she - and not Bartman - had deflected the ball, which she nearly did.

Holmes, a Chicago attorney, was sitting directly behind Bartman.

When the ball rocketed off Castillo's bat, it looked "like it was going foul behind us, and at the last minute the wind blew it forward," she said.

"Steve Bartman deflected it and it landed at my feet. One of the guys I was with picked up the ball. We're all high-fiving him and congratulating him and then we realized everyone is booing."

Holmes said it didn't take long for Bartman to realize that he was the target of the boos.

"He turned around and said, 'Do you think I did anything wrong?' We said, 'No.' He was just doing what everybody else in that place would have been doing," she said.

Holmes' friend, attorney Jim Staruck, eventually sold the ball to De Porter. Both Holmes and Staruck are glad they weren't the first ones to touch it.

"People ask me, 'Why didn't you stop him?' I say there was just no way to know what was going to happen. We were looking up at the ball," said Holmes, who is visible in photos of the play wearing a white coat and red scarf.

"We are definitely lucky for our sakes that Steve Bartman was in front us. Or I (might) have been the one vilified."

Then, reflecting on the Cubs' latest post-season collapse, Holmes offered perspective on the Bartman blame game.

"This year is proof that the Cubs don't need Steve Bartman to screw everything up."

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