Seek, Sports Fan, and Ye Shall Find

Don’t look at me like that, Jarold---like I’m crazy. You at least owe me the favor of listening to all the evidence I’ve collected over the past six years since I first formulated my theory. It boils down, my friend, to these undeniable facts:

1) I have not been able to locate a single fan who was at the game on 6/2/1998 who can testify with one hundred percent certainty that the pop fly that Jorge Otanez struck with two out and no one on base in the bottom of the fifth was in fact caught by any of the Allentown infielders. Those same infielders, all of whom I’ve interviewed personally, mysteriously cannot produce the mitts they used only a decade ago so that I might test them for ball residue.

2) The box score for this game, unearthed only after many hours of digging through the minor league baseball database, reveals that the game was “suspended” in that same inning. But the records of the National Meteorological Bureau in Houston prove that the weather in Allentown was only mildly drizzly that day. Why might the game have suddenly come to a halt? Why?

3) In Sorry, It Looked Like a Strike to Me, his mesmerizing autobiography covering his seven years umpiring in the East Spotsylvania Rookie League, Don Blinkringer reveals that “sometimes things happen in baseball that just make no sense to me. You know, weird things---I can’t think of any specific examples offhand.” Blinkringer is listed as having been the third base ump for the game in question. Enough said?

4) My brother-in-law was there that day, Jarold. He was quite sleepy, a little inebriated, and in line to buy a hot dog when the nine hundred fans in attendance started to file out, but he remembers returning to his seat to pick up his sunglasses and seeing a dazed expression on the Steelton Sammies’ manager’s face as the man looked up at the sky as if to say, “My God, that pop fly never came down, never WILL come down, and life as we know it has changed in a small way forever.”

I’m leaving my files on your desk, Jarold. You publish the biggest newspaper in town and if you won’t give up three columns in the Lifestyle section to the story of a conspiracy to quash the fact that a pop fly supposedly bound by the laws of gravity simply vanished off the face of the Earth in 1998, then shame on you. And shame on me for even thinking of living in your garage for a while until I get back on my feet. If I didn’t have about sixty percent of my stuff already moved in there, I’d haul it all out right now, the broken wheel on my wheelbarrow be damned.