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Archive for Friday, February 27, 2004

Bartman ball blown up

Symbol of Cubs’ curse destroyed

February 27, 2004

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— In a flash, the ball that came to symbolize the Chicago Cubs' cursed history was blown up Thursday night, reduced to a pile of thread by a Hollywood special-effects expert.

Hundreds of fans sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" before the ball -- the foul fly touched by Steve Bartman in October's playoffs -- was obliterated.

Bartman had not been expected to attend the event, held in a tent outside Harry Caray's Restaurant. Some fans were decked out in Cubs gear, others wore replicas of the famous broadcaster's signature glasses, and one man was covered in ivy.

"I feel it's finished, it's done, and we're ready to move on, and now I'm ready to play ball," fan Jessica Scroggin said.

The stunt was designed by Oscar winner Michael Lantieri, who worked on "Jurassic Park" and "Back to the Future."

"We're using a combination of pressure, heat and explosives in this bulletproof tank to destroy that ball so it will not resemble a ball at all when we're finished," Lantieri said earlier.

Because the explosive send-off came outside in a tent, some fans missed it.

With the Cubs leading the Florida Marlins 3-0 in Game 6 of the NL championship series and just five outs from their first World Series appearance since 1945, Bartman reached for the ball hit by Luis Castillo. From his front-row seat at Wrigley Field, Bartman deflected the ball away from left fielder Moises Alou.

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