Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, who grew up in a Chicago suburb, is hoping for the triumphant return of famed Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman during the 2016 World Series.

Kipnis was a Cubs fan as a child and discussed his memories from the infamous moment involving Bartman, Cubs left fielder Moises Alou and a foul ball during the 2003 National League Championship Series. The Indians infielder never blamed his fellow fan for the team’s eventual loss in the series, as relayed by on Tuesday.

“We have a joke,” Kipnis said. “The only thing I’m mad at Bartman for is missing an easy fly ball.”

The second baseman has struggled during the Indians’ postseason run with a .167 average and two home runs through the first two rounds. Cleveland will be banking on a bounce-back performance against Kipnis’ childhood team in the Fall Classic after the 29-year-old slugged 23 homers during the regular season.

As for Bartman, Kipnis believes things got out of hand in the heat of the moment and thinks the once-vilified fan would get a welcome reception if he returned now.

“He didn’t deserve that,” he said. “He never asked for all the stuff that probably happened to him afterward. I don’t think he deserved any of that. He was probably actually a pretty loyal fan and he wanted a ball, and it’s just the way events turns that turned him into this scapegoat.”

He added: “I would love to see him throw out a first pitch. Everyone would go nuts.”

Whether it will happen remains a mystery.

Bartman’s spokesman, Frank Murtha, told Ray Sanchez of CNN last week there have been offers for the longtime Cubs fan to profit off the moment. He’s turned those down, and it’s unlikely he’d return to Wrigley Field for any type of storybook ending to the 13-year-old saga.

“The likelihood that he would return to throw out a first ball or anything like that is probably slim, none and no chance,” Murtha said. “Steve’s goal in all this has been to return to a normal life and the fact that we’re still talking about it 13 years after the fact is nothing short of bizarre.”

Instead, Bartman “wishes the Cubs well and has no interest in being any distraction from whatever happens to them,” according to Murtha. He still lives in the Chicago area, but he has kept a low profile away from the spotlight since the night that became etched in Cubs postseason lore.

Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled for Tuesday night in Cleveland. The first game in Chicago, Game 3, will be Friday night.


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