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« 3-3 | Main | Damn punk kids »

October 16, 2003

An Open Letter to "That Guy."

Dear That Guy,

Like you, I am a huge Cubs fan. Like you, I've been telling people "next year! Next Year!" as long as I can remember. Like you, I am crushed that they aren't going to the World Series. Again.

Unlike you, most of Chicago (and the world, really) could give a shit about me. That's where this letter, from some guy you'll never meet and could probably care less about, comes in. See, I think we have a few things in common, and I just wanted to take a minute here and tell you that I think you're getting a bunch of shit that you don't deserve.

I used to be on this big cult TV show that had lots of very passionate fans. Many of those fans absolutely (and irrationally) hated the character I played on that show. Most of them wrote me nasty letters and heckled me whenever I'd show up at one of their events, they never called my house, or tried to hurt me, but I can sort of imagine what you're going through. That thing that makes a sports fan wear only paint and a diaper to a ball game when it's 15 degrees outside? It's the same thing that makes a Star Trek fan wear the same unwashed uniform for 5 days in a row at a big ass con.

I've read that just about every Cubs fan in the world is giving you hell for going after that foul ball. Well, That Guy, last time I checked, baseball fans like to catch foul balls. It's something we do, like paying too much for terrible beer and screaming at a player for not picking up that slider that we're so certain we'd be able to hit if they'd just put our fat asses in the game. Hell, I've been going to 20 or 30 games a season at Dodger Stadium for almost 30 years, and I try to catch a foul ball every single time I'm there. I've even had my hot wife flirt with the teenage bat boy in a pathetic effort to score one. To date, I am still empty-handed. But that bat boy, Jesse, is convinced that my wife's going to leave me just as soon as he gets out of high school.

Anyway, That Guy, enough about me. This is about you.

It's not your fault that the Cubs lost game 6. It's not your fault that Dusty Baker probably left Prior in too long, or that Alex Gonzalez chose game 6 to make his 11th error of the whole freakin' year. It's not your fault the Cubs stranded 7 runners. It's not your fault that they lost game 7. It's not your fault that Kerry Wood, normally one of the best pitchers in baseball, just couldn't get it together in game 7. (That was a sweet fuckin' homerun though, wasn't it?! I was screaming and cheering so loudly I scared both of my dogs!)

In short, it's not your fault the Cubs lost three in a row. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure it's the players fault they lost three in a row. Even Dusty Baker said, "We didn't lose the pennant, the Marlins won it. We were close and the Marlins took it from us, it's as simple as that." You'll notice that he didn't say "That Guy took it from us."

Yep. You know, now that I think about it, I'm positive that it wasn't your fault, and I'm pretty mad at anyone who's giving you shit about the loss.

It's pretty fucked up that those jackals in the news media printed your name, That Guy, and it's even more fucked up that they disclosed your workplace and forced you to change your phone number. But don't quit coaching the little league team, okay? Since you're not a dad, you're probably not coaching that team for your own personal glory, or doing it because it's the only way you know how to relate to your son. You're probably there for those kids, and you're probably having a positive impact on their lives. What are they going to learn if they lose their coach, That Guy?! Think of the children, okay? Don't be a quitter!

Tell you what. You keep coaching that team, and if you ever come to Los Angeles, I'll get some hired goons, and we'll take you out for a beer at one of the best pubs in the city. If anyone tries to fuck with you, those hired goons will kick their punk asses while we exchange high-fives. It will be sweet!

In the mean time, when someone gets in your face about the Cubs losing, you can say, "Hey! Wil Wheaton says back the fuck off!"

When they look confused and say, "Who the hell is Wil Wheaton?" you can just smile and laugh at them, because you know something they don't.

Rock on,

Wil Wheaton
Life-long Cubs Fan,
living in Los Angeles

Posted by wil at October 16, 2003 02:45 AM
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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference An Open Letter to "That Guy.":

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Comments

A pox on That Guy. Just kidding. A horrible thing happened to him. No matter what he did, the media had no right to give out personal information like that. You totally hit it dead on.


Oh, by the way......GO SOX!!!

Posted by: LB at October 16, 2003 02:53 AM

*raises hand*
I want to be a hired goon!
:-)

Posted by: Kelly Howlett at October 16, 2003 02:56 AM

That was one mighty fine open letter. I'm in complete agreement.

Posted by: Bruce Baugh at October 16, 2003 03:01 AM

Wil-

You're the man. Very well said.

Cyclometh

Posted by: Cyclometh at October 16, 2003 03:03 AM

Amen, my brother!

Posted by: PupDog at October 16, 2003 03:03 AM

Dude, you got a comment from Bruce Baugh. You rawk.

BTW, totally agreed.

Posted by: Andrew at October 16, 2003 03:14 AM

I very, very much agree.

You're just living your life, and then, POW, you're in the middle of one of those Southwest Airlines "Wanna Get Away" commercials.

It's going to be a while before That Guy's life gets back to normal. It's not like he willed the bill to come in his general direction.

hln

Posted by: hln at October 16, 2003 03:24 AM

Wil:

Great and hilarious letter! The part about you scaring your dogs made me laugh out loud, though I am trying to be quiet to not wake the kids. My parents are incredibly loud baseball fans, and it reminded me of when I was younger, walking past my house and hearing them inside, cheering on the game. Embarassed me in front of my friends. Good times.

Posted by: Natalie at October 16, 2003 03:30 AM


Well said, Wil. The guy did what fans do, and given the level of playing that went on before that catch, he has nothing to be sorry about. The fans who berate him and the media jackals who fed on their hatred ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: Spacewriter at October 16, 2003 03:36 AM

Well said. I hope that the content of your letter somehow reaches Thay Guy through the vast internet grapevine. I also hope the media are ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: Jennifer at October 16, 2003 04:10 AM

Fantastic letter. I agree completely-it is unfair, mean-spirited, disrespectful what media did to That Guy. Same with fans who want to use him as a scapegoat.

Posted by: jl at October 16, 2003 04:25 AM

well said mr. wheaton!...blind hatred is what causes wars and feuds to go on and on...a little understanding goes a long way towards healing the world.

Posted by: d. burr at October 16, 2003 04:43 AM

Allow me to just add on my kudos for a well thought out generous offer of support. I hope That Guy takes it to heart.

Posted by: Scott Van Essen at October 16, 2003 05:03 AM

Dude! I printed this out to pass round at work. You're getting free advertizing and we're getting awesomes joy out of your open letter to that guy.

No one here at work knew about the Goat. It's the goat's fault, not that guy.

Posted by: James Garrison at October 16, 2003 05:04 AM

Though I do live in Chicago, I'm not from here; I'm from Nebraska and I do know something about rabid fans. I am shocked, however, at the absolute vitriol being spouted by the local media towards 'that guy' and his actions. He's been called stupid, he's been called ignorant, and he's been called out BY THE MEDIA and the fans.

First, the media is to blame not just for telling us all who he is, but perpetuating and increasing the irrational hatred towards him. Chicago sports talk radio came very close to calling for the formation of a lynch mob.

Second, fans are to blame for having no perspective on what is, after all, just a game. I am not a Cubs fan, but no matter how much you love 'your' team (and I grew up a Husker fan in a family of Husker fans) it's still just a game. Love the game, leave the hatred for a fellow fan out of your life.

Posted by: Greg Alonso at October 16, 2003 05:04 AM

"That thing that makes a sports fan wear only paint and a diaper to a ball game when it's 15 degrees outside? It's the same thing that makes a Star Trek fan wear the same unwashed uniform for 5 days in a row at a big ass con."

That cracked me up. Die hard sports fans would be horrified to see themselves compared to Star Trek fans. I'm still laughing about it.

As for That Guy, my local (Atlanta) DJs were talking about him and how ridiculous all this crap is. The DJs were especially critical of the media who are continuing to publish the story and use That Guy's real name. Thankfully, like Wil, my local DJs were able to discuss the situation without giving out That Guy's real name. Isn't there any responsibility attached to journalism anymore?

Posted by: M at October 16, 2003 05:38 AM

Yes, I had my heart broken in game 6, cuz' I knew after that, they would lose the series...you know, cuz' they're the freakin Cubs!! But in NO WAY was that fan to blame. Actually, I blame the radio commentator Pat Hughes. "That guy" had earphones on listening to WGN Radio play-by-play. Why didn't he tell them to 'back off--Moises is coming!!' But seriously, it's no one's fault but the professionals that should have held it together. I'm totally depressed, I think I'll go start the car, and just not raise that pesky door.

Posted by: Kathy at October 16, 2003 05:48 AM

Yes, I had my heart broken in game 6, cuz' I knew after that, they would lose the series...you know, cuz' they're the freakin Cubs!! But in NO WAY was that fan to blame. Actually, I blame the radio commentator Pat Hughes. "That guy" had earphones on listening to WGN Radio play-by-play. Why didn't he tell them to 'back off--Moises is coming!!' But seriously, it's no one's fault but the professionals that should have held it together. I'm totally depressed, I think I'll go start the car, and just not raise that pesky door.

Posted by: Kathy at October 16, 2003 05:48 AM

Yes, I had my heart broken in game 6, cuz' I knew after that, they would lose the series...you know, cuz' they're the freakin Cubs!! But in NO WAY was that fan to blame. Actually, I blame the radio commentator Pat Hughes. "That guy" had earphones on listening to WGN Radio play-by-play. Why didn't he tell them to 'back off--Moises is coming!!' But seriously, it's no one's fault but the professionals that should have held it together. I'm totally depressed, I think I'll go start the car, and just not raise that pesky door.

Posted by: Kathy at October 16, 2003 05:49 AM

Sorry for that guys, my computer freaked out!!

Posted by: Kathy at October 16, 2003 05:50 AM

I'm normally not a god-type guy, but I truly hope and pray that nothing bad happens to this poor guy because of this media circus. If something does end up happening, I feel that the heartless bastards that published that guy's name and personal info are held liable for their actions. This is one of the most irresponsible acts of journalism I've ever seen. It's like the Chicago news media is dumping kerosene on an already out of control fire. The game was lost on the field (by shaky cubs defense...go figure), not on a foul ball in the stands. I sure hope that guy can forgive himself for his mistake, there's no way he could've known to do different.

Posted by: Nardman at October 16, 2003 06:01 AM

I'm normally not a god-type guy, but I truly hope and pray that nothing bad happens to this poor guy because of this media circus. If something does end up happening, I feel that the heartless bastards that published that guy's name and personal info are held liable for their actions. This is one of the most irresponsible acts of journalism I've ever seen. It's like the Chicago news media is dumping kerosene on an already out of control fire. The game was lost on the field (by shaky cubs defense...go figure), not on a foul ball in the stands. I sure hope that guy can forgive himself for his mistake, there's no way he could've known to do different.

Posted by: Nardman at October 16, 2003 06:02 AM

Agreed!

Posted by: alexa at October 16, 2003 06:06 AM

Poor That Guy. He loves his Cubs, goes to the game, and the next thing he knows he's the Most Hated Person in Chicago(TM), because he's at the wrong place at the wrong time. I hope folks in Chicago will back off from their collective insanity and let That Guy go back to his life. If not, I think That Guy can find asylum in lots of places around this country.

Posted by: Bob at October 16, 2003 06:06 AM

"I used to be on this big cult TV show that had lots of very passionate fans. Many of those fans absolutely (and irrationally) hated the character I played on that show."

::confused:: William Shatner wrote this?

Posted by: Tukla Ratte at October 16, 2003 06:07 AM

Well said Wil. It's just a game, last time I looked anyway. People don't get it. We still have American soldiers dying everyday in Iraq. Get a grip on reality.

Posted by: Mark at October 16, 2003 06:13 AM

Go Wil! Great letter!

Posted by: Taln Hess at October 16, 2003 06:18 AM

Wil, that letter was farkin' awesome. Thank you for writing it. It reminds me of the Red Sox '86 Bil Buckner error - everybody blames Buckner for losing the game, but if I remember, it was the lame-ass relief pitcher that had already allowed the tying run, so even if Buckner did make the play, the Sox wouldn't have won anyway. Lyons, was the pitcher's name I believe. Anyway, Wil, you rock and keep up the good work!

Barry Ingram

Posted by: Barry Ingram at October 16, 2003 06:44 AM

What gets me is that if you watch the tape- everyone around That Guy was reaching for the ball too. It could have been anyone. And the dude sitting beside him stated that they could not see the outfielder running at them until the very end when they just saw his glove pop up. That Guy did not lose the game for the Cubs, the CUBS did.

While at first I was disgusted at That Guy, now my disgust is directed at the media (where it normally rests) and all of the assholes who think that sports is so damn important that it is worth harrassing and threatening a person's life. These are the same idiots who threatened Kobe's accuser. Get a clue!!!

Thanks, Wil, for the opportunity to speak my mind about this!

Posted by: Katie Skelley at October 16, 2003 06:46 AM

Wil - I am so glad that someone else is sticking up for That Guy. What the media and other rabid fans is doing to him is totally uncalled for. If they want to blame someone, then they should blame the players. They didn't get it together. And why not be happy that the Cubs got as far as they did? That in and of itself is a great thing. Hang in there That Guy. And don't stop coaching your Little League Team!

Posted by: Tracy at October 16, 2003 06:46 AM

Well said! I couldn't agree more!

At first I was mad about this guy messing up that play and ultimatly the game. The announcers of the game helped that along just fine. Although they did point out that just about everyone else within 50 feet of where the ball came down at had people trying to catch it.

I then realized that "That Guy" had no idea that Alou was anywhere near catching it himself. When you are at a game, you are glued to the batter trying to see if the pitch was a ball or strike. When it's hit and it's heading your way, your fixed on the ball for a couple of reasons. One, you want to catch it if you can, and two, you need to protect yourself if you are sitting in range of a foul ball or fair ball being hit into the stands. A baseball can hurt if it hits you.

All "That Guy" was doing was what every baseball fan everywhere does when a ball is headed his way.

What really makes me sick is that I would put odds that he is going to lose his job over this. Not to mention his life will be all but destroyed. All thanks to the wonderful news media, yet again. Those happy-go-lucky people who report news for one reason and one reason only, RATINGS! What a bunch of slimeballs!

Posted by: Dave at October 16, 2003 06:47 AM

"That Guy" is going to be the most hated resident of Chicago since Mrs Oleary's cow. At least for the short term.
Not because he deserves the blame but because Cub fans have a need to blame someone for their disapointment. It's easier to blame him because somewhere deep down they can dream "If Only".
If "That Guy" has a sense of humor ,once this all dies down he should hang three pictures in his office. One of the Hindenburg , One of the Titanic , and one of him trying to catch that foul ball.
It'll be an instant conversation starter.

Posted by: Tom at October 16, 2003 06:48 AM

Wil,

*bravo* *applause* I really hope that this poor soul eventually gets beyond this. How frightening to think that one dream moment (because what fan doesn't dream of catching a ball?) in this poor fan's day has changed his life forever. And I heard he didn't even get to keep the lousy ball! I hope this letter makes it to him, and that it brings him some measure of happiness. Thanks for posting what so many of us are feeling Wil

Posted by: m4x's at October 16, 2003 06:54 AM

Wil,

I'm not a baseball fan; I didn't see the game.

I have been to games before and yes, EVERYONE tries to catch a foul coming their way.

We need to start a "That Guy" fan club and get some media attention for it.

God I hate the media.

Assholes! What do they teach these people in journalism classes anyway? Obviously they aren't learning ethics.

--Jessie--

Posted by: Jessie at October 16, 2003 06:57 AM

Bastard, Wheaton. There goes my open letter to that guy.

Just make sure he knows that by "Los Angeles" you mean "Old Town Pasedena" and by "best bars in the city" you mean "Lucky Baldwins" and that you're at least not misleading on the second part!

Heh.

Posted by: Russ at October 16, 2003 07:02 AM

AMEN Wil! People in Chicago need to think about what they are doing to this poor guy. He is more devistated than the team is, I assure you.

Posted by: Jaymz at October 16, 2003 07:06 AM

Thanks for saying what the rest of us were thinking! Ethics seems to be a foreign language to these journalists. The man didn't commit a crime...he did what most of America dreams about!

Posted by: Dawn at October 16, 2003 07:14 AM

Go Yankees! We need someone that can beat those dastardley Marlins! How dare they play with hearts like Lions?! How dare they take away what is rightfully the Cubs!?

cmon, the story is not about "that guy". the story is not about the Cubs losing...the story is about the Phenomenal comeback that the Marlins staged!

GO YANKEES!

Posted by: patrick at October 16, 2003 07:27 AM

Go Yankees! We need someone that can beat those dastardley Marlins! How dare they play with hearts like Lions?! How dare they take away what is rightfully the Cubs!?

cmon, the story is not about "that guy". the story is not about the Cubs losing...the story is about the Phenomenal comeback that the Marlins staged!

GO YANKEES!

Posted by: patrick at October 16, 2003 07:28 AM

I'm waaaaaay over here in Japan, and the news is just as big here. Just to add a bit of international perspective, a random sampling of Japanese baseball fans revealed no hate or bombast, just pity for poor That Guy.

Posted by: seethruhead at October 16, 2003 07:37 AM

All of us here in chicago agreed That Guy deserves a little heckling and maybe a smack upside the head...from his friends. The publishing of his name in the Sun Times just about made us all sick.

Oh, and the Cubs lost because they presumed Sunday's game to be no big deal, and I think they wanted to win it in Chicago. After that, it was all downhill. That, and the insane desire to make every hit a home run. *sigh*

Wait
Until
Next
Year

Posted by: crowdpleazr at October 16, 2003 07:50 AM

Well said, That shit is sooo farked up.

Posted by: Stargazer at October 16, 2003 07:59 AM

1. The crack about your wife and the batboy made me laugh - hard.

2. Can we PLEASE start to do away with "high-fives"?

When the Pretender in Chief starts to get into the act, it's time to do something else.

I would much rather see a firm handshake that starts somewhere behind the plane of your shoulder and ends in a slap and a good grip instead of jumping in the air and trying to slap someone else's hand and winding up hitting them on the head and then falling and spraining your ankle.

Of course that didn't happen to me.

But let's try, okay?

Posted by: Jim Madden at October 16, 2003 07:59 AM

Loved the bit about the bat boy - you're funny! Well said though - when I was a kid, I spent two years waiting for the Tigers to send a foul ball into the upper deck first base line, and it never seemed to happen, at least not while I was there. (of course, that was in the days when the Tigers actually hit the ball every now and then)

Posted by: Shelley at October 16, 2003 08:12 AM

I am just wondering at what point in time it stopped being just a game. I mean win or lose it's still entertainment on some level. Whether your waiting for "next year" or whether your team won. It's all in the thrill of the moment. The outcome is secondary to the enjoyment of the game.

Posted by: Adam at October 16, 2003 08:17 AM

I heart Wil!
I heart the Cubbies!
I heart "That Guy"!

Posted by: freakydeaky at October 16, 2003 08:20 AM

Bah. If you ask me, the Cubs player (AKA "That Other Guy") was going to miss the catch anyhow. That Guy isn't to blame for anything.

Posted by: Dougal Campbell at October 16, 2003 08:25 AM

AAAAAAAAAMEN!

Posted by: Jeff at October 16, 2003 08:27 AM

That was the coolest. gesture. ever.

Posted by: NephraTari at October 16, 2003 08:31 AM

Nicely done, Wil - I really think you should submit your letter to the Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Posted by: Tracy at October 16, 2003 08:35 AM

Heh. Wil said "big ass con".

I think that if I ever find myself organizing a sci-fi convention, I will name it the Big Ass Con. In memoriam.

Posted by: pokeyburro at October 16, 2003 08:50 AM

yay! you've staved off the apocalypse for yet another period! good work, and thank you.

Posted by: wilhelm at October 16, 2003 08:53 AM

amen. that poor bastard.

go sox!!!

Posted by: Brandee at October 16, 2003 09:01 AM

I know a guy who knows That Guy, but to be honest I don't know how he's taking the whole issue. I know people are worried about him. I hope he chances to read this letter, Wil, because it's good stuff. You make an awful lot of sense.

Good stuff.

Posted by: Josh at October 16, 2003 09:05 AM

That guy's got it real rough... I would tend to disagree that any fan would reach for that foul ball... most fans paying attention to the game probably would have noticed big ol' Alou comin straight at em at high speed. So it was a pretty big brain fart on "That Guy"s behalf. Having said that, the rest of the shitty play of the Cubs is totally not his fault. The ball that Gonzalez dropped could easily have been a double play ball, end of inning. World series here we come.

Ahh well, next year. Hopefully the Yankees lose to the Sox, so we can try and get ONE curse lifted, at least.

Posted by: Ryan Waddell at October 16, 2003 09:09 AM

Bravo, Wil. The guy remained in the stands, and went for the foul ball quite legally -- it was just a horrible stroke of luck that he bobbled it out of the player's hands. It sucks, but it happens.

Besides, Dusty said that he expected the Cubs to make it to the Series next year, not this year. And why is everyone ignoring the fact that they actually made it to the NL pennant playoffs? Damn, that is SO much better than what they've done since the eighties -- we should be happy that the Cubs are finally showing signs of being a championship team.

So, we'll all chime in and say, "Next year." But this time, we actually mean it.

Posted by: Melanie Fletcher at October 16, 2003 09:14 AM

Wil & friends:

I...I'm still heartbroken. As much as I would like to believe that karmic disruption and not the vagaries of playing the modern game of baseball were responsible for making it 9N+1 years, I can't fault the gentlemen either. Although, after what happened to that kid with the Yankees a few years back...
I must agree with Wil, and add an observation: Perhaps upset, Cubs fans are also some of the friendliest people in the world. They will forgive, but having come so close, it may take some time.

Posted by: Mike Thompson at October 16, 2003 09:18 AM

I'm not a baseball fan. I wasn't paying any attention until NPR broadcast a story about 'That Guy' in game 6. (Okay it was only mentioned in passing) And fine, I knew about your website from techTV but hadn't been here yet. And so during lunch a random websurf happened to bring me here, and I read your letter. I think that's cool. But Wil, how dare you not let me resize this comments window!!!!!! I didn't buy this huge monitor to look at puny windows!!!! C'mon man!!!!!

Ok, that's it. =) Peas.

Posted by: Chris at October 16, 2003 09:28 AM

Fans are always bitching when they lose games.
They blame the players, the coach, the owner.
They never blame themselves.


Now their loss it truely their fault. The Fans lost the game and the series and they should take responsibility.

Posted by: orsonwelles at October 16, 2003 09:30 AM

the kid a couple of years ago helped the home team. no one was gonna drive up from baltimore to slap him...besides...in that series, just like this one, there was more blame to go around than just a ball-happy fan.

Posted by: patrick at October 16, 2003 09:30 AM

the kid a couple of years ago helped the home team. no one was gonna drive up from baltimore to slap him...besides...in that series, just like this one, there was more blame to go around than just a ball-happy fan.

Posted by: patrick at October 16, 2003 09:30 AM

Is the "big ass con" anything like the "Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con!" of Simpsons fame? :-P

Posted by: MrPilot at October 16, 2003 09:32 AM

you might already know this, wil, but you rock.

ditto to everyone here for pointing out that they
would have lost anyhow.

*sigh*

next year...

Posted by: dani at October 16, 2003 09:38 AM

Thank you SOOO much for writing that. It makes me so angry how people can turn into Lord of the Flies over such an insignificant thing (in the general scheme of things) This poor man did what anyone would do when a projectile comes at them.
Thank you for showing compassion.

Posted by: Angela at October 16, 2003 09:52 AM

Thank you SOOO much for writing that. It makes me so angry how people can turn into Lord of the Flies over such an insignificant thing (in the general scheme of things) This poor man did what anyone would do when a projectile comes at them.
Thank you for showing compassion.

Posted by: Angela at October 16, 2003 09:52 AM

Good for you! I LOVE what you wrote and it's so true. I think it's horrible how the media (my husband says a radio station disclosed That Guy's personal info) just gave up That Guy's private information. How dare they!

And boo to those blaming That Guy for the Cubs choking. I was rooting for them too (even though I'm an A's fan) and it's terrible that they're blaming a fan instead of the team that lost.

Alas.

Next year! We'll all be in it next year!

Go A's! :D

Posted by: Valerie Noble at October 16, 2003 09:56 AM

Um- Did THAT GUY even get the ball? Or did some other fan get it?

Posted by: Arthodyd at October 16, 2003 10:06 AM

More proof that Wil is a class act.

Posted by: Mia at October 16, 2003 10:13 AM

Wil
The letter is great and I hope "That Guy" gets to read it.
It is a sad day when we blame 1 fan for catching 1 foul ball for a team losing a game.

Posted by: Dana at October 16, 2003 10:20 AM

While I agree with your sentiment, I don't think it's very realistic to be able to keep his name out of the media, especially with the internet where it's at. I mean, everybody saw his face. We was wearing the t-shirt of the team he plays for, so all of the people in that league probably knew who he was. He works in a 1,000+ person office. Over half of the city of Chicago was watching the game. Just how do you exactly figure this wasn't going to become public information?

Posted by: Scott at October 16, 2003 10:24 AM

I feel for that poor fan. The drunken Cubs fans (and you know who you are) are going to blame him for this loss until next season, if not forever. On another note, I am pretty disapointed in The Smoking Gun spilling the beans on this guy's life. I love that web site, but I thought it was pretty irresponsible.

Posted by: michael at October 16, 2003 10:25 AM

I will always be a life-long fan of Chicago sports because it is the city I was born into. My beautiful city has gone through a drought of disappointing moments.But, also great triumphs.I seen so many talented baseball players that came to Chicago:Ryan
Sanberg,Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa, Mark "Gracie" Grace,Ozzie Guillen, Kenny Lofton,and of recent Estaban Loiza,Mark Pryor,Kerry Wood,Magglio Ordonez,and yes maybe Paul Konerko. I include the South Side players because I have been a life-long suffering Sox fan, we were this "close" from going to the playoffs.It may not be the same as The Cubs losing their chance to advance to the World Series. But, it f-----'hurts like hell. Wait til next year? I hate that phrase. It should be wiped out from our vocabulary. I really really thought the Cubbies were going all the way. My alligence stays with the White Sox but, my heart breaks for the Cubbies.

As for the fan from Game 6, it is going to blow over. Chicago does forgive.

Ron Santo said that if he never gets into the Hall of Fame, that's fine. But, when they retired his number in Wrigley Field. Then he could die a happy man. I know Santo wanted his Cubbies to go to the World Series. I guess he has to (not that phrase).I just leave it at that.

A long-suffering fan who knows all to well,

Lily Jones
Life-long White Sox fan,
Chicago, Illnois

Posted by: Liliana at October 16, 2003 10:32 AM

Thanks for the comments. What That Guy is going through is just wrong. It's not like he interfered with a fair ball. It was into the stands, he, (and everyone around him) thought that he had a NLCS souvenier.)

To blame the actions of one fan for a three game meltdown is not only wrong, but myoptic.

Posted by: Doug Berry at October 16, 2003 10:34 AM

Hi, my name is Dave, and I've almost been That Guy.

It was only a local league game, not the world series race, but it was for the local league championship. The stands were packed, the SRO spots were full, and all the local media outlets were there. You see, I used to live in a small town, where local league baseball was like the fucking NBA.

The home team was up by one and pitching in the bottom of the ninth, two outs. The visitors had two on (2nd and 3rd) and their biggest slugger at bat. He swung mightily at the first two pitches and fouled them back. His third swing connected, and sent the ball sailing high, and right towards me on the right field line. I put on my glove, started reaching for the ball as it came down, and jumped back.

Why? Because out of the corner of my eye I saw our right fielder running at me full speed, leaping for the ball.

I pulled back, he caught it, we won.

I'm not saying that what That Guy did was wrong, but if he'd had even a sliver of vision anywhere but on that ball, game 6 might have turned out very differently. He did what every baseball fan wants to do, but what he should have done is pay a little more attention. It's not his fault the Cubs lost, but he certianly didn't help.

The media fucked up bigtime by making him the scapegoat, and for that they collectively deserve to be fucked with a piledriver and 16 feet of curare tipped wrought iron fence and no lubricants.

This has been $0.0125 from an observer's point of view.

Posted by: Dave Paton at October 16, 2003 10:35 AM

Hi, my name is Dave, and I've almost been That Guy.

It was only a local league game, not the world series race, but it was for the local league championship. The stands were packed, the SRO spots were full, and all the local media outlets were there. You see, I used to live in a small town, where local league baseball was like the fucking NBA.

The home team was up by one and pitching in the bottom of the ninth, two outs. The visitors had two on (2nd and 3rd) and their biggest slugger at bat. He swung mightily at the first two pitches and fouled them back. His third swing connected, and sent the ball sailing high, and right towards me on the right field line. I put on my glove, started reaching for the ball as it came down, and jumped back.

Why? Because out of the corner of my eye I saw our right fielder running at me full speed, leaping for the ball.

I pulled back, he caught it, we won.

I'm not saying that what That Guy did was wrong, but if he'd had even a sliver of vision anywhere but on that ball, game 6 might have turned out very differently. He did what every baseball fan wants to do, but what he should have done is pay a little more attention. It's not his fault the Cubs lost, but he certianly didn't help.

The media fucked up bigtime by making him the scapegoat, and for that they collectively deserve to be fucked with a piledriver and 16 feet of curare tipped wrought iron fence and no lubricants.

This has been $0.0125 from an observer's point of view.

Posted by: Dave Paton at October 16, 2003 10:35 AM

Well said Wil,

I have to admit I missed the game, but I heard all about it even up here in Canada!

"That poor guy", I like that Jeb Bush offered to put him up in florida for 3 months... That was cute, but doesnt really help what the media is doing to him... I can see the fans reacting if that had of been the series winning catch... sure, string him up then! But it was not... and the marlins went on to win that game and the next... The Cubs didn't lose because of a fan... the Marlins won because they were lucky! REMEMBER, it is just a game!

Oh and I loved your character on "That Show"... Hell I even liked Toy Soldiers... (insert butt kissing sound here) Sign me up for goon duties if that guy ever takes you up on your offer!

Posted by: Michael at October 16, 2003 10:57 AM

Yeah. I knew the Cubs would lose the series when I saw that play. Not because of the curse, not because that fan cost them the game (which we all know he didn't) but because the Cubs are the best in baseball in at least one category... choking. They have done it for years. This year they just postponed their meltdown until post season play. I love the Cubbies for that.


Signed, a Cardinals fan

P.S., so much for the great fans at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley.

Posted by: nathaniel at October 16, 2003 11:03 AM

Where can we apply to be a hired goon. I promiss, if you hire me, i wont be a disgruntled goon, and beat the crap out of the dude for fucken up the game for all of the cub fans. And costing us the world series.

I might just shove him out of a moving car (pure accident of course).

Posted by: Dusty Baker at October 16, 2003 11:25 AM

I love the end where you say, "When they look confused and say, 'Who the hell is Wil Wheaton?' you can just smile and laugh at them, because you know something they don't."

Very funny! :)

-m

Posted by: madeleine at October 16, 2003 11:27 AM

Well said, Wil. That Guy didn't do anything that any one of us wouldn't do if we were there that game.

Not that I'd be there at that game. I freakin' hate baseball. :P

(Very good blog entry, by the way)

(oh, and YAY Comments!)

Posted by: mandy at October 16, 2003 11:32 AM

Funny, I seem to recall a similar thing happening in the 1996 Playoffs, and the reaction was "It's all part of the game". Here's the link:
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/story/75709p-69921c.html

Posted by: Logan at October 16, 2003 11:45 AM

I hope That Guy gets to read your letter, Wil. Actually, he probably NEEDS to read it. Well done, Wil.

annie

Posted by: anniehall at October 16, 2003 11:47 AM

Lifelong Cubs fan living in Milwaukee here. I feel bad for That Guy, I really do. That said, the image of him reaching out and deflecting that ball from Alou's glove is permanently burned into my retinas, much like the ground ball that skittered under Leon Durham's glove way back when, and Steve Garvey's back-breaking home run. That Guy is definitely not responsible for the Cubs' meltdown in Game 6. But the image pretty much sums up everything that went wrong in the game. It was just an incredibly unlikely and oddball thing that happened, as were Alex's error and Prior's sudden loss of composure. You can't hate That Guy. About all you can do is shrug and say, "Wow. Who could have seen that coming?"

Laura

Posted by: Laura at October 16, 2003 11:55 AM

Forgive my lack of eloquence.
Wil,
You really are "The Man" .It sucks when bad things happen to genuinly good people. Ive been reading your website for a long time now and this may be the single best post you've done. It's kinda wierd how you seem to popup in my liesure/entertainment life. I was born in '70 so were not far off in age(I always wanted a brother). Stand by me was one of the defining movies of my adolecent years, Star Trek has always been a staple and something my wife also got hooked on. It has always painted a pretty optimistic view of the future. I'm a huge gamer so when G4 went on the air, I was there. PooF....so are you. somewher along the line I found WWDN and then you found yourself on my fav puter show, The Screen Savers. WIERD.
But Cool
Chad

Posted by: Chad at October 16, 2003 11:56 AM

Well done, Wil. I agree with Tracy that you should send it to the editors of the Chicago newspapers to give everyone in that city a jolt of reality.

Posted by: Kirsten at October 16, 2003 12:34 PM

Fabulous post, thanks for writing it.

Posted by: Polgara at October 16, 2003 01:09 PM

wow. please send this into the Newspaper. he'd be sure to find it then.

Posted by: Andrew at October 16, 2003 01:18 PM

Very nice Wil. Thank you for posting.

Posted by: Fargull at October 16, 2003 01:30 PM

Hot wife?? That is a matter of opinion

Posted by: Edmond Dantes at October 16, 2003 01:36 PM

The writing style of this piece is very funny. It actually reminds me a lot of that guy who runs Real Ultimate Power (http://www.realultimatepower.net) and The Best Page in the Universe (http://maddox.xmission.com/).

I always liked that style.

Posted by: ANGRY BEEF at October 16, 2003 01:37 PM

Any of us, in the same position would more then likely done the same thing.

Posted by: Terry at October 16, 2003 01:41 PM

Wil,

I don't know who I feel more sorry for. That Guy or the dry cleaner that had to eventually wash that dirty star trek uniform. Hopefully, That Guy will one day get his own talk show someday. If he's brave enough, maybe Leno or Letterman can include him in a segment.

I yelled GO CUBS!!.. and they went.. :*(

Eric B

Posted by: Eric B at October 16, 2003 01:42 PM

Right on, Wheaton. Well said.

And Wil, don't sweat it bro, you were one of my favs. You are partially to thank for my being an engineering student today!!

Who needs to be a cultural icon when you got a hot wife anyway?! :-)

Thanks, Wil.

Derm

Posted by: Derm at October 16, 2003 02:00 PM

Well written, Wil.

Those guys who hated you from the teevee were just jealous because their girlfriends all had crushes on you but wouldn't give them any play.

The guys who hate That Guy are just pissed because their team choked at a pivotal moment in the NLCS and they want a scapegoat to blame.

Both totally irrational, emotional reactions that fade with time.

Posted by: Kat at October 16, 2003 02:01 PM

First let me say that I in no way condone any acts of violence against "that guy" or against anyone else stemming from an occurence at a sporting event. Nevertheless, here it goes. I have two foul balls from MLB games. Didn't catch either. Baseballs are scary. Baseballs hit by MLB players are REALLY scary. Most people's first instinct is to turn away and cover. One must TRY to catch one. If "that guy" had been PAYING ATTENTION and THINKING, as a Cubs fan he would not have TRIED to catch it. He didn't catch it because it's almost impossible to barehand catch with one hand a fly ball hit by a big leaguer. It's also a great way to break a finger. My moral is twofold. First, please use your head at MLB games! Second, if you want a foul ball so bad, let it bounce and scramble for it, it's worked for me.

Posted by: Brian Roberts at October 16, 2003 02:07 PM

I've met Wil's wife. She *is* hot. So there.

Posted by: Andrew at October 16, 2003 02:17 PM

I posted something similar, but not quite so elegant, on my blog at www.bmonday.com

http://www.bmonday.com/200310archive001.asp#1066267736001

I ran some sims to see what would have happened had Alou made the catch. The Cubs still lose.

However, if you take away the big-ass error by Gonzalez, the Cubs go into the 9th with a 1-run lead and likely win the game.

Yet, the fans, and the media, choose to blame the fan, instead of the player who is paid $5M a year to catch routine grounders hit right to him.

The fan at least had the gonads to stand up and apologize for what part he had in the loss. Where is Alex Gonzalez' apology?

Posted by: bmonday at October 16, 2003 02:29 PM

Well, enough people have mentioned it here, and even more have e-mailed about it . . .

So how do I go about getting this letter to some newspapers?

I think I'll e-mail it to the ESPN Radio guys (heart them, man. they've made the 90 hours a year I waste in traffic feel like 88 hours), but other than that, I don't know how to do it.

Posted by: wil at October 16, 2003 03:54 PM

Good job wil! I completely support you!

-Zack Shutt

Posted by: Zack Shutt at October 16, 2003 03:58 PM

Is there a Chicago paper to which
you could send your wonderful letter?
It would be great if it could be
printed in a paper in That Guy's
home area and reach the hometown
fans who are prolly giving him the
worst of it.

Posted by: brownfordpinto at October 16, 2003 04:10 PM

Hey I'm in Australia and even **I** heard about "That Guy"!!
Wil, I looked at the Chicago Sun-Times website and there doesn't seem to be any address shown there that you can send your letter to. Any readers living in Chicago who can help Wil out with a snail-mail or email address??

Posted by: doonie at October 16, 2003 04:22 PM

Great open letter. There's nothing like a scapegoat for (the majority of) the media to sink their teeth into. Way to champion the "that guy" Wil.

Posted by: Ed Adkins at October 16, 2003 04:28 PM

You know what, everything happens in this universe for some reason. Let's just say, hypothetically of course, that That Guy hadn't done what ANYONE would have done, and reached out for the foul ball. Who's to say that the team wouldn't have won, and then in the frenzy that became the whole of Chicago, a pregnant woman would have been knowcked down in the crowd and mis-carried the child who was to be the man who cured cancer. C'mon guys...is a pennant really worth the cure for the worst medical enemy of man? You have to look at it all in perspective. Who knows how many chain of events were set off, or avoided by That Guy. Give him a break, man, he's a fan. Nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by: Mollie at October 16, 2003 04:35 PM

Baseball Primer has an analysis (using WPA) of the effect of That Guy (3.1%)

http://www.baseballprimer.com/studies/archives/00000163.shtml

Posted by: Dan Luu at October 16, 2003 04:40 PM

Wil,

The fan's name is Steve Bartman. Head over and type that name into Google News, and you'll get about 30 million hits, but the Sun-Times broke it. (Personally, I think Bartman gave them the info.)

He works for:

Hewitt Associates
100 Half Day Road
Lincolnshire, IL 60069-3342
(847) 295-5000
(847) 295-7634 fax

Of course, that's about the only address for him that has been given out, so I imagine a postal letter that might be sent to him there might get caught in a deluge.

You might want to call and push the fame button a bit to get through to him or to make sure your letter doesn't get rejected. :)

Mike

Posted by: Mike Harris at October 16, 2003 04:51 PM

Ask and ye shall receive. It also helps to live in a library.

Anyone wanna send a letter to the editor to a Chicago paper? Here ya go! Good luck!

Chicago Sun-Times
--------------------
http://www.suntimes.com/geninfo/feedback.html
(need to select "Letter to Editor" in recipient window)

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
401 N. Wabash, Chicago, Illinois 60611
312-321-3000


Chicago Tribune
------------------
Contact the newspaper's public editor, Don Wycliff, by e-mailing him at [email protected] or sending regular mail to 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60611


Well said, Wil. When I heard That Guy went into hiding, I felt even worse for him and his family. He doesn't deserve to be treated that way. No one does.

Clara

Posted by: Clara at October 16, 2003 04:59 PM

Maybe someday I can forgive him. But not yet.

Just a few games ago I was bitching at a guy (well, at the TV, but you get my point) sitting close to home plate who didn't get out of the catcher's way on a foul pop. Guy struck out on the next play, but the point stands: If you're sitting in the front row you have to know to get out of the way if there's a play on the ball! It's one of the few ways you can actually have a direct impact on the game.

Posted by: todd at October 16, 2003 05:02 PM

Will,
I have to give you credit, it takes a lot to hang it all out there, dare to human, and really spek your mind, especially in an open letter like this.
I dig the fact that you take responsibility for your site, for building it yourself.

As for "That Guy," well, had I been where he was I would have done the same thing, and there isn't a sports fan breathing who could tell me "Man, I wouldn't have done it if I were there" and actually expect me to believe it. Living just east of Green Bay, I know how obsessive sports fans can and do get, and I know that if anyone of the got the chance to get their hands on game ball, you better believe they' be going after it.
Anyway, thanks once again. If you ever do run into "That Guy," and you do get to going out for a few brews, try not to let the goons have too mcuh fun...

J

Posted by: Jeff at October 16, 2003 05:20 PM

Outsanding Wil, nicely done.

Posted by: Drew at October 16, 2003 05:21 PM

Good onya Clara! Hey Wil, I'm assuming you'll clean up the language a bit before you send the letter! :o) Although the swearing makes it funnier.... e.g. "back the f**k off" is a lot funnier than "back off" ;o)

Posted by: doonie at October 16, 2003 05:25 PM

did anybody notice that a hotel in florida offered that guy 3 months free plus free airfare, steaks and martinis?

check it out on fark...

Posted by: dan at October 16, 2003 05:27 PM

I just posted an audio version of this letter in the audioblog. Link's under my smilin' mug on the main page :)

Posted by: wil at October 16, 2003 05:28 PM

The interaction with lack of physical presence provided by the internet has desensitized people to the extreme that they usually don't realize there's another human being at the other side of the pipe. It's usually all to easy to crap on other people and mock them.

It's great to see that you're doing otherwise, Wil. I've long thought yours is one of the more "human" (and "humane") voices of the 'net. Thanks for taking the time to make this point.

As for "that guy" well, hopefully he's ok. This will die down eventually. People will find something else to get pissed about.

Posted by: Sergio at October 16, 2003 06:06 PM

Great letter, Wil. As a transplanted Cub fan of many years, I wasn't outraged at That Guy or even Alex Gonzalez. I was angered by Dusty Baker's inability to have anyone warming up in the bullpen in the eighth innning of the _game that could send the Cubs to the World Series_!!!

Sorry for the gratuitous exclamation marks.

Anyway, I wish the Fish well; they certainly played hard and smart. If you are up in San Francisco when the Cubs are in town, I'll buy you some overpriced garlic fries and we can root for the Boys In Blue together (Okay, a guy can dream, can't he?)

Posted by: RJ Johnson at October 16, 2003 06:19 PM

That's great...You have a lot of compassion and understanding, which is rare in this day and age. You also seem to have a fair sense of when it's wrong to place the blame elsewhere. I hope "that guy" reads this!"

Posted by: Leisa at October 16, 2003 06:25 PM

Word. Wordy McWord.

His email address is floating around on Livejournal. If you want, I can send it to you. I will do "That Guy" a favor and not post it here. ;D

Posted by: msscribe at October 16, 2003 06:29 PM

Well, I've spammed ESPN, the Sun-Times and Salon. We'll see if anyone prints it . . . wouldn't that be cool?!

Posted by: wil at October 16, 2003 06:39 PM

Wil, you said it. And others here have added to it. That Guy is a scapegoat for the Cubbies losing the series.

So, when are we going to take this guy out for those beers?!?!?!

Posted by: Tom From DCA at October 16, 2003 06:46 PM

Wil Wheaton says back the f**k off, and if Wil says to back the f**k off, you back the f**k off because you never know when there might be a Monkey nearby...

*Evil grin*

Posted by: Wolfman at October 16, 2003 07:17 PM

Awesome letter! I hope that he doesn't have to move to Idaho like Bill Buckner did after the '86 series.
And to "That Guy"...chin up and stay a Cubs fan. There's always next year.

Posted by: Mike Frohling at October 16, 2003 07:18 PM

Wil,

Great letter! I was just saying today to some of my friends that last time I checked, baseball was a game, and no game is worth getting the kind of abuse that "That Guy" has been getting. Thanks for saying what has been on the minds and hearts of so many of us. I hope "That Guy" gets a chance to read your letter and the many comments that have been posted in his support.

Being in my position as a pastor on the "South Side," when asked if I am a Cubs fan or a Sox fan I routinely answer that I am a Bears fan. That keeps me off the hook, and it also makes most people question my sanity. (I am, after all, the priest that played the Bears Fight Song as the recessional hymn on Super Bowl Sunday, 1986!) I am, however, proud to know that Chicago has such a devoted Die-Hard Cubs fan in LA! (And, for whatever it's worth, I loved your portrayal of Wesley Crusher. I saw a lot of me in that character. If the Enterprise only needed a chaplain!)

Take care, thanks for the blog, and good luck with your book!

Ralph

Posted by: Ralph at October 16, 2003 07:21 PM

ESPN HEADLINE: Wil Wheaton steps up to the plate to defend the ‘infamous fan’ and says “Bring it” to potential harassers.

Brave. Not entirely smart, but you've got balls.

Posted by: msscribe at October 16, 2003 07:25 PM

As a Chicagoan, I wanted to say what a lovely letter. Many of us were horrified at the Chicago Sun Times printing of specifics. This poor poor man.

This Cubs fan knows the truth: the Cubs themselves threw a three to one lead and lost the pennant. They are responsible as a team; not this man. And as a Cub fan, I can say and mean it, "Maybe next year!" I hope That Guy is in the stands with us come spring, cheering them on to a 2004 championship!

Posted by: The Queen of The Wild Frontier at October 16, 2003 07:45 PM

I'll just iterate what everyone else has said -

Awesome Farkin' Letter man!

I had wanted to say something just like that, but wasn't able to find the right words.

You rock!

Posted by: Sarcastic Cheese at October 16, 2003 07:51 PM

This even made a lead in the evening news here in Canberra (Australia) and, from my (baseball naive) point of view, the only mistake that 'That Guy' made was to not hang on to the catch!

It's the same with cricket (played over here) in that it's every fans dream to stand up and take a catch in the stands and receive their 5 seconds of glory. It was a simple reflex action.

Well said Wil, it's only a game and the event wasn't even newsworthy except maybe for a giggle!

Posted by: Geoff at October 16, 2003 07:53 PM

Way to totally put down all those devoted Little League coaches/dads too. That was classy.

Posted by: krista at October 16, 2003 08:03 PM

Cubs fans:
.... let this go ....

If the Cubs had just let it go and acted like the professionals they are supposed to be...

As a Cubbie, I can say: this hurts. And it ain't that guy's fault.

-- Chad

Posted by: chad at October 16, 2003 08:54 PM

Great letter, enjoyed reading your comments but I'd like to point out a Chicago tradition that has been overlooked in this discussion - True Cubs Fans are supposed to only catch Cub fly balls; the opponents' fly balls get thrown back cuz nobody wants them, playoff game or not!

PS I've cancelled my Sun-Times subscription.

Posted by: jill at October 16, 2003 09:05 PM

Nice letter Wil, hope he sees it!
I hope people put it into perspective. 10 people died in a ferry accident yesterday. People that were important and loved to family and friends. And next week, the country will still be talking about That Guy, and no one will even think of those lives...
Sad.

Posted by: reallylikesj at October 16, 2003 09:22 PM

Rock the fuck on, Wil. :D

Posted by: 'mee at October 16, 2003 09:51 PM

Sorry if that offended you, Krista. I can only speak from my personal experience. Obviously, not all little league dads are assholes.

Posted by: wil at October 16, 2003 10:01 PM

i guess i didn't watch enough startrek episodes, but from what i remember, you portrayed the doctor's son. i'm a bit confused why people gave you shit (pls forgive the lacking in star trek knowledge).
anyway, no matter what you believe, your name is not forgotten. i will always remember how big of crush i (and all of my juniorhigh friends) had on you (not the corey, or the keiffer, or that one dude that was also in sliders) after 'stand by me'.
you take care, you, and keep up the great insights and reminders found in your writings.

Posted by: jenyce at October 16, 2003 10:17 PM

It's baseball season again? Time flies.

Posted by: Steph at October 16, 2003 10:46 PM

I just heard from Salon.com . . . one of their editors told me that she "loved" this piece, and that Salon will be publishing it as an open letter today or tomorow!!

YEAH!!! COOL!!! :) :) :)

Posted by: wil at October 16, 2003 10:56 PM

Wil:

The Cubbies gave us something priceless--a season in which they did us proud.
Only a true Cubs fan knows the pride and the heartbreak of the past few days, but hope springs eternal here in Chicagoland (or anywhere a true- blue Cubs fan resides).

Soon 'that guy' will be forgotten and the fans will focus on next season--but the good memories of 2003 are ours to keep.

Thanks for this great essay.

Posted by: Cyn at October 16, 2003 11:49 PM

Surprisingly, I just heard about this now. (As a native Jerseyite going to college in Boston, I've sort of been trying to avoid media for fear of being lynched if it's revealed that I like the Yankees.) And...word.

Then again, the media nowadays tends to be histrionic and based more on drama than truth. But that's just my perception.

Posted by: Chris at October 17, 2003 12:02 AM

A-effing-MEN!!

Posted by: dave at October 17, 2003 12:10 AM

Okay.
This entry completely proves that you are one of the coolest people ever.

Posted by: Jenny M. Finster at October 17, 2003 12:50 AM

"Many of those fans absolutely (and irrationally) hated the character I played on that show. " i think is my favorite line in this letter.

I must say though, major kudos to you for being nice to "That Guy" and writing this letter to him. I'm not a baseball fan, but when i read in the newspaper about him catching the ball and the incriminating photos and the like...i was like "Wow...a lot of people probably really hate him right now." And you're right, it is a bit ridiculous. So yay, high-fives for goons and for the children.

Posted by: Caitlin at October 17, 2003 01:44 AM

I’m a big fan of Wil (very jealous of his hot wife) but he and all you namby-pamby-Wil’s-butt-kissing fans are way off on this.

“That Guy” is a moron. He interfered with the fielder who probably, but maybe not, was going to make a catch. The shortstop probably would not have made his subsequent error because he could have taken his time instead of trying to turn a double play. In short, I don't blame that Guy, since we don't know what would have happened. But that is just the problems, we will never know what would have happened if that Guy wasn't such an a$$hat. The very reasonably possibility exists that the Cubs would be in the World Series if not for that Guy. This is a fact that cannot simply be ignored.

If you sit in the front row and get beaned by a line-drive foul ball, it is your own darn fault for not paying attention. Don't want to pay attention to every pitch...don't sit in the front row...it is an objective irrefutable obligation that goes with sitting in that seat...or at least don’t complain if you get beaned.

There is another objective irrefutable obligation that goes with sitting in a front row seat...do not interfere with the players...especially the home team that you are rooting for! Especially during the freaking playoffs! (Jerk around with the visiting team and we wink and nod and call it home field advantage.) What woulda coulda happened is debatable and will never be known. The fact that the guy is a moron...not up for debate.

All that said, anybody who wants to do physical harm to that Guy should be locked up. However, if you want to tease and blame him for a few years...OK, I’ll join in on that.

Posted by: Just a Fan at October 17, 2003 04:38 AM

You know, I don't read you very often. I should maybe change that, based on this open letter alone. :)

Posted by: Jen at October 17, 2003 06:41 AM

Wil, this post is a wonderful piece of writing. Coming from a country (Philippines) where basketball is the national obsession in all weathers, I know how rabid loyal fans can be about interference in play. Not a pretty sight!

I hope That Guy, wherever he is now, gets to read your post and draw whatever comfort he can from it.

That said, I find it appalling that a so-called responsible newspaper would see fit to publish the personal information of the poor man. They could've just used random initials in referring to him; and why on earth let the world in on the rest of his contact information? Scary. That Guy will take forever to live this down.

Posted by: Starshadow Rivaulx at October 17, 2003 07:13 AM

I came across this site surfing the web, totally by accident, and was impressed by Mr Wheaton's letter about the fan. I agree, it was not the fans fault. Everyone else was going for the ball as well.. At least the guy wasnt on his cell phone, or paying more attention to the crowd than the game, like I have seen others do.
The ball was in the stands, you can see from the picture he is looking up, hes not leaning over the railing like I have seen others do, in fact, the outfielder's glove was over the railing on the fans side, and the ruling was no interferance. People want to blame others for the Cubs loss, when the players are the ones who werent able to gain control. And I am mad at the media as well, but I could go on and on about that.
as far as the comment a few posts back about it being the fans fault, because he should have been paying attention, he was! he was paying attention to where the ball went and kept his eye on it, which was better than what the cubs were doing. It was coming his way, he had to do something..

Posted by: AB at October 17, 2003 07:29 AM

Great letter Wil... As a Red Sox fan, I too am sick of saying "Next year!" every year, but sometimes that's all we have to hope for our teams.

Posted by: Lizard Queen at October 17, 2003 07:33 AM

And THIS is why I don't really bother to pay much attention to the media. Yep.. nothing wrong with me hiding in my own little hole.. surrounded by friends and family only... nope nothing wrong with that at all. ;D

Seriously though, I don't watch TV much due to this kinna crapulence.. Media has taken freedom of speech to an all-time low with That Guy. Thats infringing on HIS rights to live a normal life.. he doesn't deserve this lynch mob mentality that the media is only whipping up more into a frenzy. =/

I applaud you, Wil.. for taking the time out to write this and I really hope that you can get it published as much as possible. People need to grow the F up. Glad you're using your superpowers for good. ;D

Posted by: Synjari at October 17, 2003 08:04 AM

An observant and excellent commentary Mr. Wil! It's a darn shame what the present-day tabloid media has put this poor guy thru. They somehow forget to report that the umpires on the scene ruled officially that the ball was out of play and into the stands. Anyone with a $49.95 WalMart VCR (..hope ESPN is reading this) can easily deduce from the video that the trajectory of the ball placed it right on-to the top of the patron/fan divider wall. No way that Moises Alou could have caught that ball even if he was as tall as Wilt Chamberland. Oh well. Great site Wil! I enjoyed your commentary. Ken (a curious B-Boomer who was 8 yrs old in 1969 and can remember firsthand the infamous "Black Cat" incident with the 69 Mets/Cubs game. See - www.msnbc.com/local/WMAQ/A1810237.asp?0LA=agd9n&cp1=1

Posted by: Ken at October 17, 2003 08:17 AM

Extremely well said. Once again I declare myself a Wil Wheaton Fan, not because you were on That Show or because you're "Famous", but because you're a damn fine writer, a fellow geek, and a fine human being.

Posted by: Lilith at October 17, 2003 08:26 AM

Ah, thanks for your eloquence. I REALLY hope That Guy gets to read it.

Posted by: Lis at October 17, 2003 08:43 AM

Well said, Wil. I didn't know you were a life-long Cubs fan--that's awesome. "That Guy" certainly doesn't deserve to have his entire life disrupted over a game. Here's hoping cooler heads prevail, and the whole thing blows over. I took a couple minutes Wednesday to send a scathing e-mail to the Sun-Times, letting them know just how idiotic it was to reveal That Guy's name and workplace.

Posted by: Carrie at October 17, 2003 09:23 AM

Hi,

This is my first post.
I realy like your website.
I think this article was great.

Brian Pitnikoff

Posted by: Brian Pitnikoff at October 17, 2003 07:13 PM

Does anyone else have the urge to make t-shirts that say "Hey" in really big letters then "Wil Wheaton says back the fuck off!" in small letters underneath? Pure brilliance.

Posted by: Morydd at October 17, 2003 07:42 PM

Cubs fans are 90 percent scar tissue.

- George Will

Great letter.

Posted by: Ken at October 17, 2003 08:50 PM

Morydd:

*grins* Now I'm tempted.. that would just kick ass for the novelty value!

Posted by: Synjari at October 17, 2003 09:19 PM

I feel sorry for "That Guy." I think that he should get himself an agent and try to make a living for a while out of his misfortune. Could you see him in an American Express commercial(when they don't recognize you) or a 'just get away from it all' airline spot? How about a commercial that involves being placed in the witness protection program? I bet that the advertisers would jump on it. (except maybe those in Illinois. LOL)

The poor guy should make some lemonade with the lemons that have been flung at him.
Good Luck, "that guy"
Cheryl

Posted by: Cheryl at October 17, 2003 10:14 PM

And to add to the joys and excitement, the TV show Grounded For Life is mocking this 'event'. Sigh.

Posted by: sonika at October 17, 2003 10:29 PM

I'm not a Cubs fan, but I was sure hoping for a Cub/Sox series. I think both are LONG overdue for a trip to the Big Game.

If I was That Guy, I woulda gone for it too. I've seen the replay a good hundred times (who hasn't?) and I don't think Alou could have got the catch. If he coulda have, he would have. This is the big time, dude, you go for it all. He peaked his jump about 3-6 inches too low to get it.

People are just looking for a scapegoat. So typically American these days. Take responsibility for screwing up? Never! Blame someone else! So what if they lost 3 straight! It's all That Guy's fault! Yeah, right... uh huh.... suuuuuuure.

Let's face it, the Cubs were damn close, but they choked when it counted most. It's not like people aren't used to the Cubs choking. But hey, they showed they CAN show up and play some damn fine ball. Maybe next year they won't lose those three in a row and they'll make it all the way. Although I'm more of a Giants fan, I could live with a deserving team like the Cubs making it to the Series. As long as they play the Sox. 8)

Posted by: mnb at October 18, 2003 06:06 PM

I'm a life-long Cubs fan. It makes me a pragmatist. In reality, anything could have happened had not "That Guy" interefered with the ongoing play. The Cubs still might have lost. But, as Caitlin stated earlier, he was sitting in the very front row, which carries with it a certain cache, but also a bigger responsibility to pay attention to his suroundings. It's impossible for me to blame him directly, as there were at least three or four other fans reaching along with him. But the fact of the matter is that a front row seat means you're closer to the action, and in some instances, part of it. So pay attention and wait for the ball to be dead before you reach for it. That's my open letter.

Posted by: Patman at October 19, 2003 09:13 PM

Well, and editor at Salon told me she wanted to run this in Salon on Thursday, but it hasn't surfaced.

Man, what a drag. I was hoping to impress my dad. :(

Posted by: wil at October 20, 2003 01:46 AM

Excellent letter. In the end, it's the players fault. I mean, every little league coach could tell you that Alou should have called for the ball, right?

Oh, and sorry to hear about your wife, Wil. *grin*

Next year!

Posted by: Devin at October 20, 2003 09:30 AM

Oh this should TOTALLY run in Salon. Great letter Will!

Posted by: Miss Bliss at October 20, 2003 09:16 PM

http://www.sourbob.com/archives/000379.html

Posted by: Another viewpoint at October 22, 2003 04:42 AM

Wil, I love Stand By Me, but you are wrong. There were multiple causes for the Cubs losing Game 6, but the fan preventing an out was one of them. It was a stupid thing to do and reflects on Cubs fans as a whole.


The fact that many Cubs fans now refuse to admit that this dude made a huge mistake that adversely affected the game shows how little they know about baseball. The Cubs only needed a certain number of outs to win the game. That out represented like a 6th of the outs needed. That's huge when you have a tiring pitcher on the mound and a suspect defense in the field.

All of you apologists can blame the media if you want, but whatever the media coverage of this event was it doesn't change the fact that the dude contributed to the cubs failing to make a precious out.

Posted by: Jack Who Resembles Voros at October 22, 2003 09:37 AM

You know, I never really understood the intense anti-Wesley/anti Wil Wheaton attitude in some circles. Sure, the character of Wesley could have been handled better in the beginning, but that was the fault of the writers and producers, not the actor paid to read the lines.

I also found it bizarre when attending a convention in Lansing, Michigan in 1998 or 1999 that there was a notice about a meeting of an anti-Wesley club in one of the hotel rooms. What was the point? The show had been off the air for four or five years by then, and the character had been gone even longer. Do these people think that if they complain enough, they'll be able to travel back in time and fix things?

As to "That Fan", I think he did what anyone else would have done and that it's unrealistic to blame him for the Cubs' poor showing in the rest of the game.

Rick

P.S. I agree with those who feel the open letter should be sent to a newspaper or magazine for wider distribution.

Posted by: Rick at October 22, 2003 04:07 PM

Well said, I really liked the letter. But one thing bugs me, how much less could he care about you? It's one of those idiosyncratic phrases that has been used so much people don't seem to pay attention to context anymore. Couldn't care less makes a lot more sense, don't you think?

Posted by: Renton at October 24, 2003 09:05 PM

It's also nice to see you don't release personal information to the masses (retards) like the media does.

Posted by: Renton at October 24, 2003 09:12 PM

You know what my favourite thing about That Guy was? How he hopped onto the field and scored 8 runs for the Marlins.

What an athelete!

Posted by: Justin Mohareb at October 25, 2003 06:35 PM

a just wanted to say that a hink u are wonderfull and to keep on doing what ur doing xxx

Posted by: jillian at October 27, 2003 06:56 AM

Dear Wil,

We have something in common. Sort of. I am a life long Boston Red Sox fan. So I understand the power of the word "There is always next year" all to well!

Next year, Cubs & Sox World Series? Oh yeah!!!

keep the faith,
-Di.

Posted by: Diane M. Martin at November 11, 2003 05:08 PM

Wil,I'm not kidding when I say that you are totally underrated as an actor. I don't want to sound like other Wheatonites (or Wilsters if you prefer)but jeezus pleezus you are the real deal!! I'm a big fan since I first saw you in Stand By Me. The movie itself had an impact on me like no other at the time because I saw a lot of similarities of myself in Gordie. Years later when I read the novella,I couldn't help but picture you as Gordie in the book(man, listen to me i'm totally fawning!)Anyway, you're a great actor but you don't need me to tell you that.
This website of yours is too awesome. I can't remember how I happened upon it but a day hasn't gone by that I don't check in to see how things are going in your world. I think it takes alot of guts to talk about personal stuff but you do it with no problem.You do good work, Wil and one day the world shall proclaim this! All the best!

Posted by: Tommy at November 19, 2003 03:05 PM

I was just going through some of you older posts and came on this one, and it reminds me of how I felt when this happened. It shames me to think that other people would actually threaten physical harm to someone over *baseball*. Not to negate the love some people have for the sport, but it just should never come to that. What's worse is the threats that came to his family over it. Honestly, I can't imagine ever thinking like that, I felt awful for "that guy" and I hope that he got some positive things out of that whole mess.

Posted by: Brianne at January 23, 2004 09:17 PM

Will Wheaton is a CHEAP-SKATE SON OF A BITCH! I was IN the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX for his autograph and personal appearance in connection with "Stand BY Me" being shown In early October of 2004. Well, I hate to be the one to tell y'all this but the Wheatman totalloy STIFFED his waitress on a $40 tab for his crew of friends and attendants! I personally WITNESSED his Artichoke Heart Pizza as it was MADE in the kitchen, backstage, and I also KNOW that despite the loving care that was put into that pizza, his Wheatness STIFFED the nice waitress on the deal! So shove that into your pipe and smoke it! Will Wheaton is a cheap-skate son of a bitch!

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