Fans have 2003 flashbacks as Cubs head into Game 6 of NLCS at home

Cubs fans watch Game 6 against Florida Marlins at Wrigley in 2003.

As the Chicago Cubs prepare for Game 6 of the NLCS on Saturday, the Steve Bartman incident from 2003 still haunts some fans.

Thirteen years ago the Cubs returned home, up 3-2 against the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship Series.

With the Cubs on the verge of making it to the World Series for the first times since 1945, Wrigleyville was the place to be. But once again, impending disappointment was at bat for Cubs fans.

"It is a lifetime of hope. We have been hoping every day since '45. I have to see the Cubs in a World Series and it hasn't happened," said bleacher preacher Jerry Pritikin.

The Tribune Columnist Fred Mitchel said he still remembers talking to a colleague in the press box just moments before the mood changed in Game 6.

"I sort of shook my head and said you know what I got a funny feeling something is going to happen. I don't know what it is but I have a bad feeling," said Mitchel.

Shortly after that, a foul ball put Steve Bartman in the spotlight. The fan needed security to get out of the ball park. Then a botched double play. The Cubs lost Game 6 and went on to lose Game 7.

"A lot of people remember and place all the blame on and significance on a fan who rather instinctively reached out to catch a foul ball headed out his way which anybody else would do as well and they kind of lose focus on what was happening on the field as well," Mitchel said.

Raul Montes Jr. was at Game 6 against the Marlins in 2003. Saturday night he plans to be back in the ball park, hoping along with other longtime fans that history doesn't repeat itself.

"It was a tragedy so we got a chance to move forward. Now we got the opportunity and lets win Game 6 and go to the World Series and bring on Cleveland." Said Montes.

"I think everyone is just excited and it is time, we are ready," said Markell Currault-Holmes, a Cubs fan.

Fred Mitchel said the team is not only headed to the World Series this year, he believes they are going to win.
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