This Is How Steve Bartman Escaped From Wrigley Field That Night In 2003
Glenn Davis 03:06 pm, September 28th, 2011
While last night's 30 for 30 documentary on Steve Bartman, Catching Hell, wasn't perfect (too much Bill Buckner, the cuts to a radio interview with director Alex Gibney were strange), but there was still much to like: most of it centered around first-hand accounts of the fateful night Bartman found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the most compelling comes from Wrigley Field security guard Erika Amundsen, whose job it was to escort Bartman to safety: first at the game, and later after it ended.
Neither task was easy: as the documentary makes more clear than ever, the stands were not a very hospitable place for a convenient scapegoat on a miserable night for the Cubs. But the real challenge was getting Bartman to safety through a giant crowd of people once the game ended (for the Cubs, poorly). How'd Amundsen manage that?
A couple things about this really struck us. Not the disguise, so much, though it seemed reasonably good. What amazed us is that even with a reasonably good disguise, someone still figured out it was Bartman. If you needed one last bit of evidence to figure out just to what extent the crowd had it out for Bartman that night, that should seal the deal. And the idea of security guard literally having to take their job home with them - Bartman was in real danger that night, and it's not comfortable to think too much about.
So mostly, we come out of this yet again feeling terrible for Bartman. Right from the start, he handled the situation better than anyone could reasonably expect from anyone. Hell, he showed such a quiet dignity - as in the years since - that in recalling the night, Amundsen is brought to tears at one point. Few deserved what happened that night less than Steve Bartman...but just as few could have reacted in a way that meant more.
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