With five outs remaining in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, Florida Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo hit a foul ball straight for Chicago Cubs left fielder Moises Alou. But the crucial catch was not to be. Instead, a flurry of hands reached out from the stands, deflecting the ball into the crowd, and instantly one man's name, like Bill Buckner's before it, became synonymous with blowing it in a critical, high-stakes moment: Steve Bartman. In fact, dozens of errors contributed to the Cubs' loss in 2003, and the Red Sox still had one more whole game to play in the 1986 World Series after Buckner's legendary gaffe—yet these are moments that will live forever in the annals of sports infamy. Why?
With Catching Hell, Academy Award®-winning documentarian and Tribeca alum Alex Gibney probes this topic of sports curses and scapegoats with his signature incisiveness, tracing the roots of our compulsion to focus misplaced blame for an entire team's legacy on small moments of tangible ineptitude. In the process, Gibney's comprehensive interrogation of this under-examined sports phenomenon lends insight and a bit of heroic tragedy to Bartman's own curse of undeserved notoriety.
Produced by ESPN Films, Catching Hell will premiere on ESPN September 27.
ALEX GIBNEY directed the Oscar®-winning film Taxi to the Dark Side and the 2006 Oscar®-nominated film Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Other credits as director include Casino Jack and the United States of Money and Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. His My Trip to Al-Qaeda, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, and segment of Freakonomics premiered at last year's Festival.