GAME 6, NLCS WRIGLEY FIELD, OCT. 14, 2003 If you’re...

GAME 6, NLCS
WRIGLEY FIELD, OCT. 14, 2003
If you’re Steve Bartman, this is a Game You Should NOT Have Seen. The Cubs fan got in the way of Moises Alou fielding a foul pop when the team was five outs away from first its World Series since 1945. He is vilified by, among many others, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Watch the play Credit: AP

The most anticipated premiere of the fifth Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival was "Catching Hell," Alex Gibney's look at famously unfortunate Cubs fan Steve Bartman. (It comes to ESPN this fall.)

First things first: There is no interview with Bartman, who never has spoken publicly about the incident, a minor miracle in this tell-all age.

"I had 19 conversations with his attorney,'' Gibney said. "I tried everything I could think of, but at the end of the day his attorney told me Steve wanted to stick with his plan. He's over it. He wants to move on."

Even without the guest of honor, Gibney does a good job recreating the events of that crazy 2003 night at Wrigley Field, blending humor and horror in the right doses.

Biggest criticism: Gibney, a Red Sox fan, wastes time retelling the story of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, attempting to link Bill Buckner's saga to Bartman's. It doesn't work.

Comparing a pro who messed up in the line of duty to a fan thrust unexpectedly into the spotlight is a huge apples-to-oranges stretch.

 

Followers 'like' Yankees

The Yankees had a combined 3.9 million Twitter followers and Facebook "likes" as of April 19, putting them ahead of all other baseball teams in a social media survey by Sports Business Journal.

The Mets ranked 13th at 400,777. (The survey included only teams' official sites.)

The Yankees were third among U.S.-based teams behind the Lakers (9.58 million) and Celtics (4.1 million). Soccer clubs FC Barcelona (13.54 million), Real Madrid (13.26 million) and Manchester United (12.16 million) topped the international list.

The Knicks ranked sixth in the NBA (899,000). The Rangers were 10th in the NHL (277,192), the Islanders 28th (43,598). The Jets (882,221) and Giants (799,873) were 10th and 12th in the NFL.

 

Less Mike on 'Mike'd Up'

Several readers have asked where Mike Francesa has been lately on his Sunday night television show on NBC. Fair question. So I asked him.

Francesa said during the discussions last year over whether to continue for 2010-11, he asked to cut back on his appearances outside the football season, citing a desire to be home more on weekends.

The station agreed, and his annual total was trimmed from 36 to 24. Francesa still did 21 shows during the NFL season but was scheduled for only three others -- making Bruce Beck a busy fill-in.

Two of those already are in the books. The only show he is scheduled for between now and football season -- if there is one -- will be May 22, after the Mets face the Yankees.

 

MLB Net breaks down Game 6 in '86

While enough has been said and written about the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, not enough is recalled of the first nine innings.

Breaking them down in detail is the strength of MLB Network's "20 Greatest Games" episode about the game Sunday night, complete with an in-studio sitdown featuring Bill Buckner and Mookie Wilson.

The examination of several strategic decisions in the eighth inning is particularly interesting, moves (and non-moves) that could have changed Buckner's and Wilson's lives forever.

Late in the show, inevitably, Buckner talks about missing Wilson's "little roller up along first."

"I was the best defensive first baseman we had," he says, dismissing the idea of inserting Dave Stapleton for defense. "Was I Keith Hernandez? No, but I was the best we had."

After watching the video once more Buckner turns to Wilson and says, "That did happen, huh?"

Says Wilson: "It did."

 

WFUV to honor Summerall

WFUV's fundraising gala always is an A-list event -- no surprise given the Fordham station's sportscaster alumni list, including the guy for whom the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award is named.

This year's recipient is Pat Summerall. He'll be presented Monday by his old teammate, Frank Gifford.

"They were the voice of the NFL for many, many years," Gifford said of Summerall and John Madden, "and it was only because Pat could say an awful lot in very few words, and working with Madden that was a good thing, because he had to."

For information and/or tickets, see wfuv.org/gala or call (212) 930-8898.

 

YES opens itself up to cynicism

Interesting opening by Mike Francesa Wednesday, in which the big guy sharply criticized YES -- the channel that simulcasts his show -- for not including an interview with Rafael Soriano on its postgame Tuesday.

Soriano did talk to the media that night, so Francesa wondered whether YES might have been taking it easy on the controversial setup man, whose signing was a source of disagreement in the front office.

Hmm. Francesa admitted he was being cynical, but he (and we) have a right to be, given some of the network's seemingly agenda-driven coverage decisions during the past 10 seasons.

That includes another Soriano-related incident in which YES did not show his introductory news conference, knowing it would turn into a forum for general manager Brian Cashman's qualms about the deal.