CHICAGO, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the 8th anniversary of the most famous play in baseball history approaches on October 14th, two lawyers argue in a new book "Mad Ball - The Bartman Play" that Steve Bartman should be absolved for trying to catch a foul ball that otherwise would have been caught by Cubs outfielder Moises Alou and, as a result, changed the course of baseball history.
"The umpires ruled the play a foul ball, when they should have called the batter out for fan interference," authors R. Thomas Hoffman and Walter Yurkanin write in "Mad Ball - The Bartman Play," published today by Networlding Publishing Group of Chicago. Instead of leading the Cubs closer to a win, the Florida Marlins scored eight runs and went on to win the ball game and continue the "curse" of the Chicago Cubs lore.
"Had they made the right call - an out - Steve may be a hero today. We believe that our efforts exonerate Bartman of any blame. There is nothing he did in the field of play that night that the rule wasn't designed to address," said Hoffman and Yurkanin, two practicing corporate attorneys and life-long baseball fans.
The book can be ordered at Amazon or on the MadBallCommission.com website (http://www.MadBallcommission.com) for $14.95 (Networlding Publishing. ISBN: 0983812837).
"We wanted to set the record straight and correct an injustice. We felt that Steve Bartman was wrongly blamed, and that we were robbed of a chance to see the Cubs in the World Series, which is a lifelong dream for us and millions of other Cubs fans. As momentum built during the playoffs, everyone could taste a Cubs National League Pennant and a trip to the World Series. For us, this would have been the first time in our lives, and maybe the only time, that we would see the Cubs in the World Series. The Cubs hold a special place in our hearts, and the book explains why. After the Cubs lost Game 6, which is the game in which the 'Bartman Play' occurred, and then Game 7, our hearts were broken. We started our own 'commission' because nobody was addressing it the way we thought it needed to be addressed," according to the authors who studied films and many photos of the play over the past eight years.
"We think Major League Baseball needs to look at the rules and re-write them. We think Steve Bartman is owed an apology by the media, Major League Baseball, and those Cubs fans who blamed him. We think instant replay needs to play a more important role in the game," the authors said. "We also hope to change some of the team's bad luck by simply getting the story out there and donating a portion of the proceeds to charity. We're also hoping to help those who are still feeling the pain of that game. For us, writing the book was good therapy. The book might be good therapy for our readers."
The umpire claimed there was no fan interference under the rules, but the authors, both lawyers, disagree.
"The umpire believed the ball was in the stands and, therefore, he assumed that left fielder Moises Alou had to go into the stands to catch it. MLB's Official Rules state that if a player goes into the stands to catch a ball, he does so at his own risk. In our opinion, the fan reached over and onto the playing field side of the railing (perhaps by only inches) and interfered with Alou's ability to catch the baseball. The interference occurred in the field of play, not in the stands. Photos and video of the play support our position, although we recognize the call was difficult for the umpire because the ball was only inches onto the playing field side of the railing atop the wall. Still, a proper application of the facts to the rule results in fan interference," they said.
The lawyers are avid baseball fans who are "trying to right a wrong" and "not profit from the book."
"Baseball fans will find the book interesting because this was a significant game in baseball history. It had a huge impact on the Cubs, the City of Chicago and Major League Baseball in terms of the economic impact. It had a huge emotional impact on many fans. Part of the story is about Bartman and what happened to him, and part of the story is about baseball and the rules. It's also a story about the two of us as baseball junkies trying to unravel what went on," they said.
For more information go to Mad Ball website: http://www.MadBallcommission.com
SOURCE R. Thomas Hoffman and Walter Yurkanin