“Catching Hell” debuted Tuesday night (Sept. 27) on ESPN as part of the sports channel’s 30 for 30 documentary series. It detailed the events and aftermath of Steve Bartman’s historic foul-ball catch during Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins, a series the Cubs were leading 3 games to Florida’s 2.

In case you are not aware, the Cubs were leading Game 6 3-0 in the eighth inning when a foul ball came towards the left-field line. Bartman (and several other spectators) went for the ball, as did left fielder Moises Alou. Bartman caught it – it was pretty much out of play for the outfielder. But Alou’s angry reaction on the field was all it took for the fans to get murderously riled up, especially after the Marlins peeled off eight (eight!) runs that inning. Clearly, Bartman was solely to blame.

Bartman’s life changed forever, hence the title of the documentary.

Interestingly, in the documentary Moises Alou himself says, “You know what the funny thing is? I wouldn’t have caught it, anyway.” But that doesn’t matter to a lot of Cubs fans.

Reactions from the Twitterverse include:

  • “If I’m a Cubs fan, I’m embarrassed by this whole thing. I was there that night and never occurred to me to blame Bartman.” — Chris Kuc
  • “As a native Chicagoan, I’m ashamed of how Bartman was treated at the ‘Friendly Confines.’ A pockmark on the city’s legacy.” — Kyle Brandt
  • “And almost 20 hours later the debate over #catchinghell is still going on with friends. Well done again @espn. #30for30” — Chels Lynn
  • “Watching #CatchingHell, reminds me a lot about the John Wilkes Booth documentary on the #historychannel. Chicago treated him like a criminal” – Josh Burton

The documentary re-airs many times over the next several weeks, if you didn’t catch it the first time around.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."