ESPN Bartman documentary: Cubs' Alou, Ramirez booked flights home anticipating Game 7 loss
By TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org August 22, 2011 11:52PM
Chicago Cubs Vs Atlanta Braves. Chicago Cubs fans reacts to the Homerun ball off the bat of Atlanta Braves No. 5 Freddie Freeman August 22, 2011 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: November 3, 2011 5:08PM
One of the Cubs’ worst episodes — the eighth-inning collapse in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins — is being relived in an ESPN documentary called ‘‘Catching Hell.’’ And a comment in the film from former Cubs outfielder Moises Alou might again spark talk of players conceding there’s a ‘‘curse.’’
The documentary, scheduled to be screened in Chicago this week, includes an interview with Alou, who was trying to catch the infamous foul ball that fan Steve Bartman tried to grab. Alou told interviewer/director Alex Gibney that he and Aramis Ramirez booked a flight home to the Dominican Republic before Game 7 the next day, even though the series was tied and a victory would have given the Cubs the National League pennant and a trip to the World Series.
Asked about Alou’s comments Monday, Ramirez half-smiled and rolled his eyes.
‘‘It wasn’t like that, but I don’t want to say anything about it,’’ he said.
In the film, Alou says: ‘‘I remember myself and Aramis booking a flight home. Even before Game 7. Just in case. But you know, that’s the thing we would have done if we felt positive about the outcome of our next game. Because of all the things that happened before.’’
Gibney asks: ‘‘Oh, I see, so you actually figured after losing the sixth game, you figured there was a sense that it was not going to happen for you guys.
Alou responds: ‘‘It was a — we had a bad feeling about it.’’
Players often book multiple flights home for the end of a season when the exact last day isn’t known, especially international flights.
A DL double
There was bad news on the pitching front at Class AAA Iowa on Monday when relievers Scott Maine and Justin Berg, both of whom have been with the Cubs this season, went on the disabled list. Maine, who was with the team briefly again last week, sprained his left ankle in pregame conditioning work Sunday. Berg went on the DL after experiencing soreness in his right elbow Sunday, the second time that has happened this season.
Berg, who spent nearly a month on the DL in June, is 4-1 with a 5.16 ERA in 292/3 innings pitched (29 games). He appeared in eight games with the Cubs this year, working 12 innings with a 3.78 ERA. Berg appeared in 41 games for the Cubs last season.
Maine is 3-4 with a 3.75 ERA and team-high 11 saves for Iowa. He has appeared in seven games for the Cubs this season.
For the St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols, who has hit more career home runs against the Cubs (53) than against any other club, new Cub Rodrigo Lopez is becoming a favorite target.
Pujols was 0-for-12 against Lopez before facing him June 3 and grounding out. Since then, Pujols is 6-for-6 with three home runs, the latest on Sunday to help the Cardinals win.
‘‘What is the difference [now]? I don’t know,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘He probably figured me out. What can I say? He’s Pujols, and he’s one of the best hitters in the game and can make adjustments. I need to make my adjustments if I face him again.’’