Copy Editor

July 11th, 2011: As seen on Mad Ball (PDF)

Two Chicago-based attorneys and lifelong Cubs fans, Walter Yurkanin and Thomas Hoffman, set the record straight on the infamous Bartman Play of the 2003 MLB playoffs, in this renegade “commission report” that seeks to examine everything that went right and wrong on that fateful day in Game 6 against the Florida Marlins when a fan caught a ball in play, igniting a series of events that led to the Cubs’ loss and elimination from the series.

Brought on as copy editor, I was tasked with weaving the legal jargon necessary to the authors’ leave-no-stone-unturned examination into a creative narrative that serves all the clerical precedent they sought to set, that the umps made the wrong call, the exoneration of the fan (Steve Bartman) as the sole cause of the fiasco and, of course, a rich history of curses that plagued the Cubs’ quest to return a World Series to Wrigley Field for the first time in over a century.

Published years before the Cubs finally did break said curse, with my edits and creative direction to deepen the mosaic with their own baseball upbringing anecdotes, Yurkanin and Hoffman tapped into the mysticism of the sport and fandom with ‘Mad Ball, while also also laying out a framework for an incident like this to never happen again.



Our answer to criticism is to invite them all to sit down with us at a nice antique wood conference table to hold a Fan Interference Summit.  Before breaking bread together, we will all agree not to mention one word of the Bartman Play.  Rather, we will read the rule line-by-line.  Those umpires that believe all that matters is whether a ball is in the stands will see that there are other aspects to the rule.  Maybe next time they have to rule on a play in foul territory near the wall, they will not lock their eyes on the ball.  Those umpires, and umpire supervisors, who in the past have fixated on the provision that says “when a player goes into the stands, he does so at his own risk,” will see that there is a big exception that starts with the word “however.”  If an umpire starts to stray from the written rule to interject his own make-believe interpretation, he would be forced to take his index finger and point to the exact words in the rule that support his interpretation.  If he cannot find the words to support his interpretation, he must put his finger in his ear.  If the umpire finds the words, but conveniently chooses to ignore other words, he will be required to write the other words on the chalkboard ten times.