Posts Tagged ‘time travel’

The Day After Christmas

December 26, 2012
Part One of the "Persistence of Time" Series by Salvador Dali.

Part One of the “Persistence of Time” Series by Salvador Dali.

I’ve been fascinated with the possibility of time travel for as long as I can remember. Reading H.G. Wells as a child germinated the interest, of course, but the desire to actually do it myself really took off once I started listening to “The Old Scotsman,” Gordon McClendon do his simulated Liberty  Broadcasting System radio play-by-play accounts of the day’s Major League Baseball games from his studios up in Dallas back in the early 1950s. They always sounded so real that I never even stopped to think that they were not. Some of them may have been real for all I know, but that possibility merely begs the point. – I neither knew nor cared. I just knew that they were baseball game accounts about teams and players that mattered to me.

Then one day, it all changed.

Gordon McClendon, who always worked alone, came on the air with the pre-game comments to explain that today was going to be a slightly different ballgame. On a day when all the sixteen MLB clubs were resting on “days off,”  there was still going to be a major league game and a very special one.

“Today, ladies and gentlemen,” The Old Scotsman announced, “the LBS Game of the Day is going to reach way back in history to bring you Game Two of the 1916 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox from Braves Field. (The Red Sox had received permission from the Boston Braves to use their field during the 1916 World Series in the interest of handling larger crowds than those that could fit into Fenway.) Veteran Sherry Smith takes the mound for the Dodgers; youngster lefty Babe Ruth will work for the Sox.  So stay tuned for a simulated game for the ages.”

Wow! Did that ever wake me up to the power of a well done sim-game and to the incredible lure of wishfulness about time travel that dwelled within me. I resisted the urge to look up the specifics on that game, even though I had the written results on hand for all World Series games through 1950. Access to information wasn’t invented by Google, after all, but I wanted none of it that day. The 1916 World Series was a black hole to me beyond the fact that I knew Boston had won it because I did already know that the Dodgers had never won any World Series through 1950. And it was now 1951.

The game proved to be one for the ages, with both pitchers going all the way in a 14-inning 2-1 win for Ruth and Boston.

McClendon made it sound so real, complete with reports of winds kicking up on the field that blew the players’ pant legs like wind sox at gusty moments. We could hear the crowd, the roar of the rally, the occasional sound of wood contacting horsehide. It was real, all right – so real that I just wanted to be there wholly – in body and soul rapture of the moment. This could be one of the last great pitching moments for young Babe before he goes on to New York in 1920 to become the greatest home run hitter of all time. Who among our feverish numbers could pass on the opportunity for eye witness testimony to an incredibly large moment in baseball history?

In exchange, I would have gladly sworn myself to silence about where I came from – and never uttered a word to Bostonians about their impending loss of Ruth to the Yankees and the upcoming curse upon Red Sox World Series wins beyond 1918. Besides the value I place upon keeping my word, I would not have enjoyed being torn apart by the Bostons, nor would I have wanted to be hauled away to the loony bin. Those too negative factors alone would have been good enough reasons to have kept my time traveler status a secret.

But I couldn’t find the time travel portal. I had to rely upon Gordon McClendon to take me as far as my mind could go. And that was pretty good, as it was.

Besides, it’s the day after Christmas – the day each year when my inner clock begins ticking away the time in earnest to the start of spring training and the next baseball season.

Speaking of time countdowns, I hope you SABR members, and other interested parties, are making plans to attend our Monday, January 14th, 7:00 PM meeting at the Inn at the Ballpark on Texas @ Crawford. Our special guest speaker is going to be Bo Porter, the new Astros manager. Even more special is the news that Hall of Fame great Monte Irvin plans to attend so that he also can meet and here what Bo Porter has to say.

Friday, December 28, 2012: Change in Plans for Monte Irvin: Sorry to disappoint, but we have now learned that Monte Irvin’s doctor does not want him exposed to the damp winter night air and he will NOT be attending the January 14th meeting of SABR in Houston. We are all disappointed, but we completely understand.

Just the same, let’s all give Bo Porter a chance to present his point of view on how he plans to deal with a very young 2013 Astros club, going into the most powerful division of the American League. On our side of things, I see it as the grown-up thing to do.

If you have any questions about SABR, or would like to attend the meeting, please get in touch with SABR Chapter leader Bob Dorrill at


An Old Buff Tale

May 3, 2012

Houston Daily Post, Wednesday, October 26, 1887.

Early last Tuesday morning, this past one, the one going forward into Tuesday, May 1st, in the wee small hours, no less, I awoke from a most amazing slumber vision at about 3:30 AM. I had dreamed I finally made a successful trip back in time to Houston of the late 19th century. To be more precise, the date was October 25, 1887. I had been out there a lot lately in reality concordance with our 21st century time and space zone, but now, in the dream, at least, I was in this other place.

Everything about my senses in the dream made it feel completely real. In fact, it was the visceral intensity of the whole thing, far more than the content of what actually happened there, that had awakened me in the pre-dawn hours of May Day, 2012.

All I remember of it went as follows:

It was late in the day on an autumn Tuesday in Houston of 1887. I was walking through the almost vacant grandstands of the old ball park that used to stand at the corner of Travis and McGowen. In a strange departure from my normal character and habits, I had been gambling with a small group of cigar-chomping swells, betting on everything from ball and strike calls to the over/under number on foul balls that would reach the grandstands per inning. – It’s a good thing I won because I’d already raised enough sand among my companions by the 1932 Houston Buffs jersey and cap I had been wearing – and I don’t know how I could have paid off with modern money that none of them had ever previously seen.

I walked away from the “five guys” – listening to their mumbled questions about me.

As I approached the stands on the McGowen side, I saw a Houston Daily Post reporter that apparently had passed out from too much to drink on the second bench from the front row. I figured he was the Post guy because he had one of those press cards stuck in the ribbon of his derby hat and the Post was the only paper covering the game that day.

I bumped him in the side with my knee. “Hey,” I said, “get up.”

“Who’s there?” The startled Post reporter asked as he rubbed his eyes hard and swiveled quickly to a sitting position, all the while staring up at me distrustfully and quite defensively.

“I say,” the reporter demanded. “Who in blazes are you, sir? – And why do you come to the ballpark today dressed in that strange garb?”

“Just think of me as the Spirit of Old Buff, sir” I answered. “My friends and i are here from the future to learn what we can about how our city embraced the game of baseball back in the 19th century. – And while I’m at it, I have to tell you – you 19th century writers could make it a lot easier for us if you could write more specifically bout the names and locations of ballparks and teams back in the old days!”

“What do you mean by ‘old days’, sir,” the Post reporter demanded. “These are the days – the only days in time that belong to us. If you and your sort do not understand when we write that the Houstons play to day at the ball park, that’s no concern of mine. I have my own deadlines to meet, sir, and, as for you – your impertinence is only matched by the unsightly vision of your peculiar clothing and shady-sided contact with crooked gentlemen who choose to gamble on every occurrence in Houston from sunrise to sunset.”

About this time in the dream, the image of the reporter began to waver and fade before my eyes, as did the sound of his voice weaken and fadeaway as though it were disappearing down a long narrow pipeline to nowhere. The next thing I knew, I was sitting upright in bed, reorienting to the fact that it apparently all had been nothing more than one of those inexplicably weird dreams.

I probably would have forgotten the whole thing, except for a little discovery I made later the same morning during my research time downtown at the Harris County Archives. I felt compelled to take a look at the files of the Houston Daily Post for the day following my somnolent trip to the ball park with the gamblers and the sleeping-it-off anonymous-to-this-day reporter.

That’s when I found the clipping I used at the top of this story. Draw your own conclusions.

If I Never Get Back

March 24, 2012

Baseball's Greatest Time Travel Novel (1990). If you str looking for a taste of what it's like to play vintage base ball by the 1860's rules, a la the Houston Babies this one is the book you need to read.

Take me out to the ball game!

Take me out with the crowd!

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack!

I don’t care if I never get back!


Let me root, root, root for the home team!

If they don’t win, it’s a shame!

For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out,

At the old ball game!

In Darryl Brock’s exciting to sentimental baseball novel, an unexpected time warp opens up and places 1990 newspaperman Sam Fowler back in 1869 and riding on the same train as the great undefeated Cincinnati Red Stockings of that golden year birth of professional baseball. I wouldn’t begin to spoil the two-novel series that unfolds from there, but if you like science fiction, baseball, history, intrigue, and romantic adventure – all rolled into one package – these two works by Darryl Brock are definitely for you. The sequel, “Two in the Field,” was published in 2002 and, unlike many follow-up novels, this one does not disappoint. It simply amplifies the action and depth of character involved in the life of a man who was born in the 20th century to really come of age in the late 1800s.

"Two in the Field" (2002) picks up where Darryl Brock's first novel leaves off without missing a broken heart beat and it carries new action of good versus evil from the east coast to a thrilling conclusion in the American West of 1875. I simply cannot speak to which time zone the story concludes because that information would be a spoiler.

Darryl Brock, Author.

Both books are still available for immediate delivery through Amazon, and probably Barnes & Noble and E-Bay too. I don’t often boost books, but these I do. They each were page turners for me, the kind of books that leave you feeling that you are saying good-bye to old friends when they conclude..

Thank you, Sam Fowler, Colm, Caitlyn and Tim O’Neill, Mark Twain, Andy Leonard, Asa Brainard, George and Harry Wright, Johnny, Linc, Goose, President Grant, George Armstrong Custer, and Crazy Horse. – It’s been a great ride.

Thank you, too, author Darryl Brock, for the fine research you did on a multiplicity of items that made Sam Fowler’s trip back in time so utterly believable. The sights, and sounds, and smoke stack smells of 1869 Cincinnati will be with your readers forever as brilliant background to the story your work unfolds. Thank you for giving your plot line  the very best shot at credibility.

And thank you, finally, for giving everyone who has ever wondered about the joy of vintage base ball action from the 19th century as it now plays again in the 21st as a little taste of what the buzz was all about.

If you would like a first person taste of vintage base ball, as played by basically the same 1860’s rules that governed the game in Brock’s novels, follow the Houston Babies next Saturday, March 31st, to Sealy, Texas for the big spring festival and vintage ball tournament. Complete info is available through the following link. They also provide a phone number for your additional questions.

Sealy, Texas is located about 50 miles west of Houston on I-10. Come join us, if possible,

Time After Time

September 13, 2010

Stephen Hawking

Physicist Stephen Hawking says that time travel is theoretically possible in light of Einstein’s work.

If it happens. here’s my first flight plan:

Destination: September 30, 1927: Yankee Stadium. The Bronx. Time Arrival: 9:00 AM works for me. I have some other things to see and do before the main event. Need: Game Tickets. Should be no problem. Use 1927 currency only. Event: You’re kidding, right? Travel Restrictions: (1) Tell no one from your own time zone where you are going; (2) dress appropriately to the projected expectations of your destination populace; (3) tell no one where you’re from; (4) Stay away from the track and other OTB stores; (5) no stock or bond transactions; (6) offer no predictions to the locals; (7) do not try to fix or redirect the future; and (8) never stay longer than 24 hours  before returning to your own time base. Staying anywhere longer than 24 hours increases the risk of increased affinity for the locals and a potential meltdown of your commitment to the travel restriction rules.

Question: If these terms of time travel are acceptable to you, where do you want to go for 24 hours to another space on the time travel continuum?

That’s it for me, for now. Can’t really say where I’m going, but I’ll be back soon. Have a nice balance of time in September 2010.