• The creator of a PlayStation ad for "MLB 12: The Show" was forced to verify that a Bartman-like character sitting alone in his Chicago apartment celebrating a fictional Cubs championship actually was not Bartman. He admitted the ad's creators "kicked around the idea" of asking Bartman to appear in the commercial.

The fact that Bartman has refused to cash in has earned him some props from fans and players alike.

"In this day and age, he could've made tons of money doing things," said Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre, who was perched on second base during the play. "But he took the high road. Hopefully Chicago will embrace him again one day."

The Ball

While Murtha said DePorter isn't the only one to capitalize on Bartman's misery, he does blame him for exacerbating it. He understands Bartman still would be demonized without the ball being blown up but says it added another layer to the story.

"I knew it would always be part of something," he said. "I just didn't think it would have the life it has had."

The ones who have exploited Bartman the most, according to Murtha, are DePorter — who bought the ball, blew it up and displays the shreds in his restaurants — and ESPN.

The sports network created a show called "The Top Five Reasons You Can't Blame Steve Bartman for the Cubs 2003 Playoff Collapse" and featured an Alex Gibney documentary on the incident called "Catching Hell" for its "30 for 30" series.

The biggest problem Murtha had with the media company was "stalking" Bartman for an ESPN the Magazine article in 2005, then pretending it was in the name of exonerating him for the incident.

"It was like he had found Osama bin Laden," Murtha said. "All he did, he went to the address where 14 satellite trucks were parked for two weeks, then followed him to work, sat in the parking lot and jumped out of a bush."

But DePorter's role in the Bartman legacy is more problematic for Murtha.

It all began when an anonymous Chicago attorney known only as "Jim" nabbed the foul ball on the rebound and auctioned it one month later through Mastro Auctions, which folded in 2009 during an FBI probe of its activities.

Jim the attorney told the Tribune then it was "like found money" and would be used as a college fund for his not-yet-born child. DePorter wound up paying $113,824 for the ball, and he told Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed he would blow it up so Cubs fans could "erase the most tangible symbol of that pain." Proceeds would go to Ron Santo's favorite charity, JDRF, and only "pro-Bartman" people could attend.

On the night of the explosion, in February 2004, DePorter told the Tribune "it's also time for all of us to move on." But Murtha argues DePorter did not move on even after the ball was blown up, contributing to the demonization of Bartman.

"The next spring, they sold spaghetti sauce made of the shards of the ball," Murtha said.

Murtha recalled the day DePorter called him and asked him to attend the ceremonies extinguishing the ball forever.

"As a promoter, a P.T. Barnum, he's Triple A," he said. "He gave me a pitch over the phone: 'Steve should come to the ceremony.' He said Ryne Sandberg wanted him to come, and Dutchie (Caray) and Ernie (Banks) wanted him to come. Then he said, 'Harry would want him to come.'

"I listen to enough of his blarney, and I say, 'OK, if Harry says he should come, he'll be there.' "

Murtha said there was a long pause. Harry Caray had been dead since 1998, as Murtha knew well.

"Finally (DePorter) asks, 'Well, how you gonna do that, Frank?' " Murtha said.