Extras - Timely Persuasion


Deleted Scenes > Baseball > Pesky Held The Ball?

In this most recent airplane trip I wasn't actually falling, more hovering when the plane flew through me.  That may mean that my 'height' (for lack of a better term) when in the past is linked to my 'altitude' (the elusive better term) upon departing.  Paired with the minor levitation I experienced back in 1994 this made some sense.  If it were true it might prove useful later.  And I thought I knew just the place for further verification.

Admittedly, I had been looking for an excuse to justify another time travel field trip as soon as I realized that the ticket my parents bought me had a layover in St. Louis.  Much like it was on the Kurt mission, I wasn't necessarily on any timetable to complete tasks in the past.  As Marty McFly once noted "I've got a time machine.  I've got all the time in the world."  Of course, immediately after this he quite stupidly decided that "all the time in the world" translated into giving himself a mere ten extra minutes to save Doc Brown.  All's well that ends well I guess, but I still find myself screaming at the movie when this scene plays.

For this particular field trip I would have a deadline of sorts.  I needed to get to the ballpark and back to the airport in time to make my flight.  Time spent in the past wouldn't count, so if worse came to worse I could blink out at the airport, walk to the park, and then blink back when I was ready and still have had no time go by in the present.  I made a mental note to ask old me about the travel in time vs. space and time phenomenon, though I figured I'd just get the radio/TV analogy thrown back at me.

Content with a half a plan for the next short while, I decided to take a true nap for the last hour of this flight.  Next stop, St. Louis and a date with Johnny Pesky.

Sportsman's Park, home of baseball's Cardinals until 1966, no longer existed.  In its place on North Grand Boulevard stood the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club.  Good thing I decided to ask the cab driver about the old location, as I almost ended up at the current Busch Stadium, about five miles south.  He got me to the proper spot from the airport in just under twenty minutes, taking up the first quarter of my eighty-minute layover. 

I considered blinking back to 1946 right there in the cab, but that would not allow me my altitude experimentation.  Just the ballgame would be entertaining in and of itself (at least until the inevitable conclusion), but I felt better risking a missed plane in the name of something at least pseudoscientific. 

The hackneyed old cabbie asked me how long I needed, I told him not too long.  He said he'd have to keep the meter running.  Handing him my Visa card as deposit, I was off.

The Boys and Girls club had built a small baseball diamond on the former site of the professional stadium.  A commemorative sign listing the names of old baseball greats and World Series years was posted on a brick wall outside.  I forced myself not to stare directly at the bold "1946" printed between 1944 and 1964 so as not to inadvertently blink back too early.  Not that I necessarily would have strong enough memories of a game played before even my parents were born to pull that off so effortlessly, but better safe than sorry.  Regardless, I was pretty sure this trip back would be easily accomplished with just four magic words.

Entering the building, I asked the woman at the front desk if I could use the restroom.  Although I was trying to lay on the charm, she wasn't having any of it and refused my admittance without having actual business in the building.  At times like these I wished I were more like my father.  He has this uncanny ability to interact with secretaries, waitresses, telemarketers and other service professionals and get whatever he needs with a wink and a smile, regardless of the quote unquote rules.  Unfortunately that's not a characteristic that I inherited from him.

Instead I did the next best thing by going into a childlike "I really gotta go" dance.  The receptionist reluctantly (and suspiciously) pointed me towards the restroom, keeping her eyes on me each step of the way.  Once out of her view, I snuck upstairs and found a window overlooking the diamond.  Unfortunately I wasn't quite out of view, as she had followed me up the staircase and was turning to approach me when I closed my eyes and thought with all my might:  "Pesky held the ball!"

Next thing I knew I was outside the stadium at upper deck level.  I say upper deck level as my theory had proven correct; I was hovering above the right field stands.  My first instinct was to brace myself for a fall, as if I was in an old cartoon where the character is completely able to defy the laws of physics and walk on air until such a time that he realizes that this is going on, at which point he'll wave briefly at the camera as gravity takes over and his fall begins.  But since I wasn't really here I wasn't about to fall.  I tentatively took a few steps, then sat down cross-legged in mid air.

Amazing as it was I eventually grew bored of the sensation.  After a few laps above the outfield I gave up and walked over to the proper upper deck, past the right field foul pole on the first base side.  In actuality I was sort of wading in the upper deck, as the floor of the building I blinked from did not match up with the lowest level of the stadium section, leaving me ankle deep in the illusion of the flooring.

This started me thinking as to how the effect really worked.  Was the stadium around me real and my body an illusion, or was it the other way around?  Or were both person and place very real, but existing on differing planes of reality?

With my hovering and such it would probably make more sense for me to be a disembodied observer.  The only need for my body to be here is for interactions with myself, but there couldn't be another me to interact with since I hadn't been born and in coming here I prevented another me from doing the same due to the one trip rule. 

The most reasonable conclusion I could draw was that the inventor of time travel (maybe even me, I still wasn't certain on the history) decided to give the appearance of a body to minimize any potential disorientation that would be felt by an apparitional spirit in the sky.  As usual, I grew tired of internally debating something I knew so little about and turned my attentions back to my surroundings in a more practical rather than theoretical sense. 

Members of the grounds crew were preparing the infield with rakes and hoses.  There's really nothing quite like a freshly cut baseball field.  Game time was still a few hours away, so I decided to find a safe corner somewhere to have a rest.  I hadn't really paid much attention to when the game was to be played, so the extra time here would give me some insight into the famine factor.  I finally sprawled out in (literally) the first row of upper deck seats just in front of first base and somehow managed to fall asleep without any trouble.

I awoke during pregame introductions.  It was disorienting at first, especially since I only saw black when I opened my eyes.  Rolling over slightly I still couldn't see, but after standing I emerged into the light.  The ticket holders of my sleep area were sitting in their seats and unknowingly on top of and inside of me.  Of particular note was a larger man wearing a double breasted suit and a trilby hat, his girth continuing to take up most of my vision even after sitting up.  No fault of his own, but still not pleasant for me at any rate. 

The Sox drew first blood on a sacrifice fly in the first, with the Cardinals tying it up on a similar play in the bottom of the second.  The third and fourth innings cruised by.  I was having a blast watching Ted Williams play.  He was 0 for 2 so far, but made a nice throw to catch Schoendienst trying to stretch a single to a double in the Cards' very first at bat.  He also had a great presence about him, causing him to always be the one I looked towards during idle time or between innings.

The game had the makings of a nice pitcher's duel between Ferriss and Dickson.  Although famous in Red Sox lore, I didn't really know a whole lot about this game except that we'd lose by one run on the Pesky play in the 8th or 9th inning.  Otherwise, it was all brand new to me.

No sooner did I have my pitchers duel thought than things started to unravel for Ferriss.  Four quick hits with a sacrifice in between led to two Cardinal runs and his early exit from the contest with a 3-1 deficit for the good guys.  I wondered if my thinking led to the bad luck.  It couldn't have since this game already happened, but it was uncanny how well the jinx always seemed to work in sports.  No sooner does an extremely positive, forward looking thought enter your brain than things start to go south.  Deja vu isn't the best way to describe what I was feeling, but it is appropriate enough to get the point across.

Moving on to better parts of the story, the Sox tied it on a single and a pair of doubles in the 8th, but Dom DiMaggio hurt himself legging out his double and had to leave the game.  After Ted Williams popped out (can you believe that the only game I ever see Ted Williams play in live he goes 0 for 4?  The greatest hitter who ever lived can't get a hit with me in the stands?), the stage was set for the historic moment.

As soon as I saw Enos Slaughter emerge from the dugout to lead off I knew this was the moment I had been waiting for.  I decided to walk out over the field to be as close to Pesky as possible when the time came.  I also started to regret my elevated, Goodyear blimp like position.  It would be much more fun to be standing at shortstop when it happened.

Slaughter singled, but the next two hitters made outs.  With Harry Walker at bat, Slaughter broke for second in an apparent steal attempt.  He would have had it easily, but it didn't matter when Walker hit the ball to center.  Culberson (substituting for the injured DiMaggio) fielded the ball, bobbled it slightly, and threw a weak relay in to Pesky.  I saw Slaughter round third as Pesky ran out to center a bit.  The entire dugout, some fans, and even myself were yelling "Throw home!  Throw home!" as he caught the ball, whirled left towards the plate, and made a wide throw that was far too late to get Slaughter who never stopped running. 

Wait--where was the fabled hesitation?  He certainly didn't "hold the ball" from where I was hovering.  Either I had managed to change the past slightly in willing him to throw home, or the curse associated legend I'd grown up knowing was just that: legend.  If anything, the effect of the curse would have been DiMaggio's injury on his game tying double.  A case of winning the battle but losing the war.  From my point of view above the field it was the weak relay throw from center that really did us in.  No fault of Johnny Pesky's.  He was little more than a scapegoat to feed to the curse hungry public.

Dejected from a game that ended the same way it did almost sixty years ago, I blinked back to from whence I came.

"Sir, I told you the bathroom was downstairs.  I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

I opened my eyes at the window, gave a quick muffled apology to the woman, and went outside to find my waiting cab driver.