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Catching Hell (2011)

After the Chicago Cubs blow an opportunity to reach the World Series in 2003, Cubs fans blame the team's misfortune on fellow fan Steve Bartman, who interfered with a foul ball and prevented Moises Alou from making a catch.


Alex Gibney


Alex Gibney
2 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Moises Alou Moises Alou ... Himself
Steve Bartman Steve Bartman ... Himself
Rod Blagojevich ... Himself (archive footage)
Ron Borges Ron Borges ... Himself
Tom Brokaw ... Himself (archive footage)
Bill Buckner Bill Buckner ... Himself
Bob Costas ... Himself
Josh Doust Josh Doust ... Himself
Wayne Drehs Wayne Drehs ... Himself
Leon Durham Leon Durham ... Himself (archive footage)
Dwight Evans Dwight Evans ... Himself
Will Ferrell ... Himself (archive footage)
Alex Gibney ... Himself
Jeff Gowen Jeff Gowen ... Himself
Brian J. Hedger Brian J. Hedger ... Himself (as Brian Hedger)


When Chicagoan Steve Bartman fatefully deflected a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, the city's long-suffering Cubs fans found someone new to blame for their cursed century without a World Series title. Director Alex Gibney explores the psychology of die-hard sports fans, the frightening phenomenon of scapegoating, and the hysteria that turned mild-mannered Bartman into the most hated man in Chicago. Written by Tribeca Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Sport







Release Date:

10 June 2011 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA

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Did You Know?


Mike Lowell: In the dugout we saw, you know, obviously the Bartman thing and I remember Mark Redman, one of our pitchers, said 'Let's make him famous.'
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Features 1986 World Series (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Like a Greek Tragedy
27 September 2011 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Catching Hell (2011)

**** (out of 4)

Terrific documentary from ESPN about Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman, the man who would walk into Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS hoping to see history with the Cubs reaching the World Series but instead became history after interfering with a foul ball, which many fans fill caused their beloved team to lose the game, the series and a chance at breaking the "curse" on their team. Director Alex Gibney spends the majority of the time going over the Bartman play but he also starts the film off by flashing back to 1986 when another cursed team, the Boston Red Sox, lost their game 6 game when Bill Buckner let a ball go between his legs. As with the Cubs in 2003, the Red Sox would lose that game six and then lose the next game to lose the series. The documentary does a very good job at connecting the two men but it also asks the question on why both men were as hated considering there were other people to blame during both games and not to mention that both teams had a game 7 that they could have won. The documentary features interviews with Bob Costas, Steve Lyons who was calling the game for Fox, a Fox producer, several security guards working at the game and we also get interviews with many of the people who were at the game. Some of those at the game include people sitting right around Bartman and one idiot who would go down and confront Bartman and throw beer on him. CATCHING HELL is a terrific little documentary because it's not just for baseball fans because its story is almost like a Shakespeare play or some sort of Greek tragedy. The human side of the story of a man making one mistake and becoming the most hated person is quite a tall order. There's some footage of Bartman being led out of the stadium where all sorts of things are thrown at him and even to this day he hasn't really came out of hiding. I think it should be noted that the documentary reveals that the man has been offered at least two-hundred thousand dollars to tell his story but he refused to make a profit off of it. I think he speaks a lot more highly than most people in this story. With that said, it should come as no shock that Bartman is not interviewed here and that there would have been the only thing that could have improved the film. The argument is also made that the story will never go away until the Cubs win the World Series but others seem to think that Bartman could take some heat off of himself simply by talking. CATCHING HELL is a perfect documentary that fans of the sport should love but I think just about anyone will be able to feel for the characters of this play.

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