They’ve kissed and made up.

And they put a ring on it. (Sorry, Beyonce fans!)

A long, dirty phase in Chicago Cubs history has come to an end.

For those of you that have been living under a rock, there was a young man named Steve Bartman, who attended Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series against the-then Florida Marlins. For years, Bartman was the most-hated person in the Windy City since Al Capone and made the mistake of reaching for a foul ball along the left field line, deflecting the ball that Moises Alou would have caught for the second out of the eighth inning. Had Alou caught the ball, the Cubs would have been in the World Series for the first time since 1945. As fate would have it, the Cubs gave up eight runs in that frame and lost the contest 8-3, giving the Marlins a trip to the World Series, where they went on to beat the New York Yankees.

Bartman became a scapegoat and was considered persona non grata in the Windy City and also became the targer of jokes, SNL skits and death threats. He went into hiding, almost into his own Witness Protection Program, as it were and never talked about the incident.

With the Cubs winning their first World Series since Taft was in the Oval Office last year, the team decided that enough was enough. They needed this to come to an end, not just for the team but for the city of Chicago. Bartman had been punished enough. (As for the baseball that he touched? It was on display at Harry Caray’s Restaurant in downtown Chicago until it was destroyed).

The Cubs decided that Bartman deserved a ring, the same one that the players got last April, the one with the 108 diamonds, representing each year they didn’t win the Fall Classic.

The Cubs issued the following statement regarding the ring:

“On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series championship ring to Mr. Steve Bartman,” the statement said. “We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series. While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today.”

Bartman, through his attorney issued his own statement:

“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels.

“My family and I will cherish it for generations. Most meaningful is the genuine outreach from the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organization and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.

“I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society,” Bartman said in his statement. “My hope is that we all can learn from my experience to view sports as entertainment and prevent harsh scapegoating, and to challenge the media and opportunistic profiteers to conduct business ethically by respecting personal privacy rights and not exploit any individual to advance their own self-interest or economic gain.

“Moreover, I am hopeful this ring gesture will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved,” he said. “To that end, I request the media please respect my privacy, and the privacy of my family. I will not participate in interviews or further public statements at this time.”

Bartman also thanked the Ricketts family, Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and the entire organization for the gift and “for providing the City of Chicago and Cubs fans everywhere an unforgettable World Championship in 2016.”

Added Bartman: “I am happy to be reunited with the Cubs family and positively moving forward with my life.”

The Windy City has survived a fire that was at first started by a cow kicking over a lantern, a depression, Al Capone, winters that would have easily frozen Hell over 10 times and political corruption so bad Shakespeare would have been jealous. It celebrated when they won the World Series last October. They finally exhaled when they got their rings. Bartman and the Cubs have kissed and made up. They’re not quite Facebook friends yet but the wounds have finally healed.

A city that languished as to if they would ever win another World Series has forgiven a man that caused their fan base so much grief. The Cubs have moved on to become World Champs. Bartman has stepped out of the shadows and once again made himself visible, if only for a few minutes. They kissed. They made up.

They put a ring on it.

(photo credit the Chicago Sun-Times, the Associated Press and MLB)