It seems strange—miraculous, even—that sites like ours or other media outlets have yet to catch even a glimpse of Steve Bartman post-hibernation. No candid cellphone pic popping up on a Chicagoan's Facebook page. No first-hand account of a Bartman sighting at the laundromat or the gym or an Applebee's in Schaumburg. Finding a photo of him without the Cubs hat and dopey headphones, wearing some expression other than one of frozen sadness, would be like finding a photo of a Yeti in a national park. Except that this Yeti still works a desk job outside of Chicago, if Catching Hell's information is still up to date.
The photo seen above is from a personal blog called Osler's Razor, whose author was a friend of Bartman's roommate at Notre Dame. The roommate passed along the pic for Osler's Razor to publish. Weird, right? Your eyes go straight to Lou Holtz in the middle. Unless someone pointed him out, you'd never notice the kid crouched on the left, who is now just as famous a personage as the football coach he's posing with. Once you realize it's Bartman, though, Holtz fades away, and the photo feels more substantial and spooky, like seeing Oswald in Minsk.
Catching Hell director Alex Gibney did reach out to Bartman for the film, but Bartman, as he's done with all requests (interviews, six-figure endorsements) over the past eight years, politely declined. It's a remarkable feat, almost monastic in its self-discipline, one that makes Bartman's story even more intriguing and heroic in its own way. The cynic in you wants to say he's staying quiet merely to drive up the price of an interview or a TV appearance, but that's not right. I don't imagine that he's tortured by all this anymore. He's controlling his story's ending. He's grabbing it clean out of the night sky and pulling it into his chest. Good for him.