'King of Queens' star expected to headline

Updated: October 16, 2003, 7:30 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

The story of the Chicago Cubs fan who is being blamed by some for ruining his team's chances of making it to the Cubs' first World Series in 58 years won't be forgotten anytime soon.

An official with Revolution Studios, an independent studio that has produced "Anger Management," "XXX" and the soon-to-be-released "RADIO," confirmed that company officials accepted a pitch for a movie tentatively titled "Fan Interference," which will be based on the premise of a fan hurting his team by getting in the way of a play.

Cubs Support Maligned Fan
The Cubs officially came to the defense of Steven Bartman, issuing a statement Thursday in hopes of calming down their angry fans.

"The Chicago Cubs would like to thank our fans for their tremendous outpouring of support this year. We are very grateful," the statement said.

"We would also like to remind everyone that games are decided by what happens on the playing field -- not in the stands. It is inaccurate and unfair to suggest that an individual fan is responsible for the events that transpired in Game 6. He did what every fan who comes to the ballpark tries to do -- catch a foul ball in the stands. That's one of the things that makes baseball the special sport that it is.

"This was an exciting season and we're looking forward to working towards an extended run of October baseball at Wrigley Field."

Daily Variety, which first reported the story, said the movie is expected to star Kevin James of CBS' "King of Queens."

"It's not clear whether a project like this would ever make it to the screen," said one Hollywood insider. "It depends on if the topic can remain a part of the public's consciousness as well as whether enough of a plot could be written around the incident."

On Tuesday, the Cubs were up 3-0 in the eighth inning when a fan named Steven Bartman, sitting in the front row, reached for a foul ball and deflected it. The ball possibly could have been caught by Cubs leftfielder Moises Alou. After the incident, the Florida Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning and eventually won the game 8-3. The Marlins advanced to the World Series by winning the decisive game Wednesday night. Bartman has been made a popular scapegoat even though several mistakes caused the Cubs to unravel that night.

On Thursday, memorabilia experts started to speculate on the price the cursed ball Bartman touched would fetch if it were offered at auction in the next couple of weeks.

"No true Cubs fan would want that ball, and I doubt a Florida Marlins fan would pay a lot of money for it," said Richard Russek, president of Grey Flannel, a sports auction house. "If someone paid $10,000 for it, it would be $9,000 too much."

Michael Heffner, managing partner of Leland's, another sports auction house, estimated the ball would command between $5,000 and $10,000 if it ever made it to the open market.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business, can be reached at darren.rovell@espn3.com.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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