So, it turns out I was right about the wormhole depositing me into the Schlitz Stadium press box. I got some pretty conclusive proof of that last night. I’ll explain.
I’ve been trying to go through mostly at night. I figured I’d run less of a risk of being caught by a janitor or something. Mornings might be a good time, too, but I’m reluctant to do that without having a copy of the Hops’ season schedule. Knowing me, I’d bust through at the break of dawn only to discover that the Hops are playing a day game and the place is already packed. And then I don’t know what I’d do. It gets into a whole mess of ethics and theory. Let’s say somebody sees me, and asks what I’m doing. What on earth would I say? Do I even answer the question? Is it okay to interact with the people "over there" at all, or would that just create problems?
And while we’re at it, what exactly is my role in all of this? It seems like there are two general approaches I could take. In the first, I would consciously prevent myself from intervening with anything or anyone over there. I would try to slip through unnoticed. I would leave no trace of my presence, like a film crew for one of those grim nature documentaries. You know, the ones where they let the baby gazelle get devoured by a lion, or a seagull drown in oil. So if I happened to see a foul ball coming my way, I’d just walk away and let someone else get the souvenir. I can live with that. But if I was walking down the concourse and happened to see somebody getting beaten up… I’m not so sure I’d be able to let that go. I know it’s unlikely, but still. Something about that doesn’t sit well with me. I like knowing that I’m at least able to intervene, should the need arise. Getting a foul ball would be cool, too.
That leaves me with the second option: going full participant-observer. I could immerse myself. Get to know the people and their customs. Conduct my study of a parallel universe from within the parallel universe. That’s intimidating, too. I’d also have to figure out a way to stay there for longer than a few minutes at a time. And don’t even get me started on the butterfly effect.
Anyhow, all this speculation might be useless after last night. I went through at about two in the morning, as I had planned. Instead of snooping around in the dark looking for another news clipping to grab, I was confronted by bright lights and a cloud of cigar smoke overhead. I ducked into a corner and tried to take stock of my surroundings. There were six people sitting with their backs to me at a long table in front of a window. They were sharply dressed, too – everyone in a suit and hat, except for one lone woman, who still had a hat but swapped out the suit jacket and slacks for a sensible white blouse and an ash-grey pencil skirt. She was clacking away at a typewriter and peering down out the window. Her colleagues were a little less intent, jawing back and forth with cigars in one hand and drinks in the other. The woman seemed profoundly unperturbed by all the chatter.
I’ll admit I was kind of mesmerized by the whole scene. I started to straighten up involuntarily to get a peek out of the window, and in so doing caught my first good look at the Schlitz Stadium diamond. My, is it a thing of beauty. Infield dirt the color of Ceylon cinnamon, an emerald green outfield, a fence full of interesting angles and corners, a beautiful manual scoreboard straight out of Ebbets Field, a fancy checkerboard mowed into the grass…. I love Miller Park, but this other place has some serious class. My eyes lingered on the scoreboard. The Hops were playing the Harlem Dutchmen in the bottom of the fifteenth inning. So that explained why my late-night universe hopping hadn’t been as solitary as I had hoped! Another realization: the woman in front of me had to be Maggie Piper!
At this point, things start to get a little fuzzy. I must have said or done something pretty unsubtle when I figured it all out, because the next thing I remember is six very puzzled people staring straight at me and my stupid open-mouthed grin.
I ran for it – out the door, into a hallway, through another door, down the concourse, past a very sleepy-looking beer vendor, and eventually into the gents’ room. I locked myself into a stall, closed my eyes, and waited for the familiar yanking feeling of being jolted back to Milwaukee. Of course it didn’t come – I think I had wandered too far away from the mouth of the wormhole. I waited a few minutes even though I was pretty sure that nobody had followed me, then crept down the concourse and made my way back to the press box. I got just to the door, then VOOM. There I went. And here I am.
No articles for you this time, I’m afraid. I did see a calendar in the press box that gave the Hops’ record as 5-11, though. Evidently they took two of three from the Los Angeles Lizards, then lost the first game to Harlem. It looked like they were set to take on the Minnesota Surgin’ Sturgeons (I love that name) next, before heading to Detroit next weekend. Should be a good time for a return trip to Schlitz Stadium. I’m a little apprehensive after having such a close call, but I’m sure nobody will be around while the team is on the road. I’ll keep you posted! And in the meantime, go Brewers!
For those of you who wish to catch up: