Fan sorry from 'bottom of broken heart'

CHICAGO -- The fan who played in a key role in the Chicago
Cubs' collapse in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series apologized
Wednesday, saying he was brokenhearted.

With the Cubs five outs from advancing to the World Series for
the first time since 1945, Steve Bartman tried to grab a foul ball,
preventing outfielder Moises Alou from catching it. That helped the
Florida Marlins rally for an 8-3 victory to tie the NLCS on Tuesday night.

The Marlins also won Game 7 to advance to the World Series and
cement Bartman's gaffe as a key moment in the Cubs' long, sad

"I had my eyes glued on the approaching ball the entire time
and was so caught up in the moment that I did not even see Moises
Alou, much less that he may have had a play," Bartman said in a

"Had I thought for one second that the ball was playable or had
I seen Alou approaching, I would have done whatever I could to get
out of the way and give Alou a chance to make the catch."

The 26-year-old Bartman, a youth baseball coach, was escorted by
security guards from Wrigley Field after he was threatened by angry
fans and pelted with debris.

A police guard was posted outside the suburban Northbrook home
where he lives with his parents. His brother-in-law -- who read the
statement to the media -- said Bartman was "hiding somewhere. He
just wants to move on and he wants the Cubs to win."

Bartman apologized to Cubs fans and ex-players, including Ron Santo and Ernie Banks.

"I am so truly sorry from the bottom of this Cubs fan's broken
heart," he said.

"I ask that Cub fans everywhere redirect the negative energy
that has been vented towards my family, my friends, and myself into
the usual positive support for our beloved team on their way to
being National League champs," Bartman said.

His wishes were unanswered. The Marlins won 9-6, leaving Cubs
fans everywhere to ponder what might have been if Bartman hadn't
gotten in the way.

He became the talk of the town soon after the Marlins forced the
decisive seventh game.

Angry broadcasters castigated him. A local newspaper found in a
Web poll that thousands of people blamed him for playing a role in
the Cubs' loss. Even the governor weighed in.

"Nobody can justify any kind of threat to someone who does
something stupid like reach for that ball," Gov. Rod Blagojevich

In Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush said an offer of asylum to Bartman
might be a good idea, and an oceanfront retreat in Pompano Beach
offered him a free three-month stay if he needed to get out of

According to a Daily Variety report on Thursday, "King of Queens" star Kevin James will star in a film titled "Fan Interference," a "comic pitch inspired by" the Game 6 mishap. James will "play a man who screws up an easy out, and then has to deal with the ramifications," according to the report.

Earlier in the day, neighbors and other fans had various
opinions on whether Bartman should have tried to catch the ball.

"If you are a fan who's been around for a while, you just know
not to interfere with a player," said Don Emond, 66, a longtime
season-ticket holder who was at the game. "I think these fans like
that are sort of selfish or they don't really care about the
consequences of what happened."

Bartman was described by neighbors as such a big Cubs fan that
he traveled to Arizona to see the team in spring training.

In brief comments to reporters before going inside his home,
Bartman's father defended his son.

"I taught him well," Ted Bartman said. "I taught him to catch
foul balls when he comes near them."

Don Kessinger went after countless popups near the stands while
playing shortstop for the Cubs in the 1960s and '70s.

"I think he did what 40,000 people would have done," said
Kessinger, now in the real estate business in Oxford, Miss.

Even Alou, who was initially furious, seemed to soften later.

"I kind of feel bad for the guy now, because every fan in every
ballpark, their first reaction is they want a souvenir," he said.
"Nobody's going to think about the outcome of the game."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.