Steve Bartman doesn't deserve a 2016 World Series ring from the Cubs.
He's not a player, he was not a part of the business side of the organzation. He hasn't even sold a beer or a hot dog at Wrigley Field (to my knowledge).
But he didn't deserve 14 years of hate, either.
Bartman is ingrained in Cubs lore after that fateful 2003 day in which he was the only unfortunate soul to make contact with a foul ball among a group of people who were all reaching out for the same opportunity.
The ball deflected away from outfielder Moises Alou, the Cubs collapsed and then lost the National League Championship Series and forced to wait another 13 years for a World Series championship.
Bartman's life was turned upside down immediately. He had to be escorted out of the stadium by a bevy of security guards and was blacklisted from Cubs Nation — both in Chicago and around the country.
He became the most infamous fan in American sports history.
So no, Bartman doesn't deserve a World Series ring because he didn't have any direct impact on the 2016 championship. He even said as much in his statement:
Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations.
But the gesture of the Cubs sending Bartman a ring is far beyond what could rationally be expected as an apology of sorts from Cubdom. The Ricketts family made a strong statement in support of a guy who has gotten a rough draw in the last decade-and-a-half.
A ring with his name on it carries more weight than simply throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field. It's a symbol that Bartman is being welcomed back to the organization with open arms (even if it wasn't the organization that banished him).
Bartman has almost never made any sort of public statement over the last 14 years, but didn't hold back Monday, writing five paragraphs and 307 words in a classy response to a classy move from the Cubs.
Now, like he said, here's to hoping that the incident has been finally laid to rest.