I didn’t know the date off the top of my head, but I bet a bunch of Cubs fans did. October 14, 2003 — ten years ago today — was Steve Bartman day.
In case you’re six years-old or generally oblivious, the Bartman game became known as such when Mr. Bartman reached for a foul ball that Moises Alou had leapt for and probably would have caught:
At the time the Cubs were up 3-0 in Game 6 of the NLCS and had five outs to go. After the play? The Marlins scored eight runs and won the series the next night.
Not that it was truly all Bartman’s fault. Indeed, way more blame should be (and, now that it is all in the rear-view mirror, usually is) placed on the Cubs for woofing the inning, the game and ultimately the series away. After all, Bartman didnt make Mark Prior walk Luis Castillo after his foul ball. Or throw a wild pitch. Bartman didn’t cause Alex Gonzalez to muff the double play that would have ended the inning. Blame belongs to a lot of people, mostly those who were wearing Cubs pinstipes.
But Bartman remains infamous.
There was a story about the play in the New York Times yesterday. The most notable thing: Bartman has basically disappeared from public view. He doesn’t give interviews or show up at conventions and does not appear to have done anything to capitalize on his notoriety. Which is pretty darn admirable.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”