5 Outs: Is Gonzalez's Game 6 error just another excuse?

5 Outs: Is Gonzalez's Game 6 error just another excuse?
October 16, 2013, 9:45 am
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Tony Andracki

Everybody remembers "The Bartman Game". But why isn't it called "The Gonzalez Game"?

["5 Outs...": Complete coverage]

Sometimes lost in the epic controversy surrounding the Steve Bartman-Moises Alou interaction in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS is Alex Gonzalez's crucial error.

The Cubs shortstop could have erased Bartman's name from the history books if he turned a tailor-made, inning-ending double play. Instead, Gonzalez booted it and the Cubs continued their meltdown, allowing eight runs to the Florida Marlins in that eighth inning.

"It's a play that Gonzo makes 98 times out of 100," then-Cubs GM Jim Hendry said in "5 Outs...," which aired Tuesday night on Comcast SportsNet.

"It shows it can happen to anybody," Dusty Baker, the Cubs manager in 2003, said.

[MORE: Kerry Wood will never forget the wild ride with 2003 Cubs]

Even Miguel Cabrera, who hit that grounder to Gonzalez at shortstop, believes it was a costly moment, even a decade later.

"If he makes that play, they're not talking about that fly ball to left field," Cabrera said.

While most people understand blaming Bartman is just an excuse, can the same be said for Gonzalez's gaffe, or is it just one of those "Cubbie Occurences"?

"I think it's just another excuse," said Ozzie Guillen, who was the third-base coach for the Marlins in 2003. "The goat, whatever they had. Same way with Boston with the Babe Ruth curse. No, there's a lot of teams out there. They played terrible for many years.

"You want something to hang on to and believe? OK, Bartman. It's Bartman's fault. But I think it's just taking advantage of people's errors. That's what the Marlins did. We didn't make any errors. They did."

[RELATED: Cubs say it’s time to stop playing the blame game with Bartman]

With the Bartman and Gonzalez moments so close together, the feeling of dread may have come over the crowd, but Kerry Wood insists the clubhouse was still thinking positive.

"I don't think I looked at it as 'here we go again' or 'this is gonna happen,'" Wood said. "I'm sure the fans did and you could feel that energy from the fans because they've been dealing with it for 100-plus years. But from a player standpoint, it was just 'throw another groundball and we'll get the next one.'"