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John Boston | My Major League Inter-Dimensional Newhall Team

John Boston
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Over the centuries, scientists and philosophers have pondered Heaven and Hell, other dimensions. The Vikings had Valhalla, a laughably violent realm where warriors battled all day and hacked each other to Japanese poke. Miraculously, by day’s end, their wounds all healed and they joined one another for a great drunken feast to laugh and replay innings. 

For at least one mild spring afternoon, I’d like to buy a couple of hot dogs and a cold beer. I’d like to visit at one of Earth’s parallel dimensions, at a ballpark where the greatest hitters were playing, Field of Dreams, Santa Clarita style. 

I’ve much to worry about. But, my little chimp-like mind frequently wanders this confining zoo enclosure to ponder what it would be like to see Babe Ruth play today. 

The mischief maker in me quickly interrupts. 

“Well, John. He’d be 127, wouldn’t he?” 

Yes. Well. True. In the ill-chance you happened to walk him, the catcher would probably have to whisper in Babe’s ear and guide him along that long walk to first. This Rubenesque cherubic god of baseball would drink beer, smoke cigars, eat hot dogs — during the game — while building lifetime stats that still stand today. 

In his prime, he was built like jolly old Santa Claus and wore a size 42 trouser. He swung a 54-ounce bat. That’s completely Paul Bunyanesque. With proper nutrition, exercise, training, emotional therapy and medical sports science, would Babe Ruth have hit 13 home runs per game today? 

I’d love to sit in the stands, half-heartedly and softly chanting, “Hey batter batter batter swing batter batter …” while Babe tapped dirt off his cleats. 

Or, maybe as a modern vegan, The Bambino would be listless and Hamlet-like. Depressed, he’d call time out to ponder, “What, exactly, is home about in these civilization-ending climes?”  

My nephew-like substance, Coastal Eddie, when he was but a lad, approached Barry Bonds for an autograph after a Giants home game years ago. As the family story goes, Barry took all the sparkle out of childhood when he told Edward that he didn’t like kids, didn’t like Eddie, didn’t give autographs and refused to sign some memorabilia Ed handed him, a hockey puck I recall. Ed’s a grown-up barrister now. I just found this wonderful photo on the Internet of Barry Bonds, down on one knee, all happy and smiling, surrounded by laughing kids and signing autographs. I emailed the evidence to Coastal with an unintended dig: “Must’ve been you …” 

I’d have Barry Bonds on my all-Valhalla team. Because there’s infinite dimensions, Barry and Babe would be playing for the Indians. The Hart High Indians. In Newhall. We’d be a curiosity even in that special sliver of the universe in that we’re a town of just 9,000 souls but can afford a World Series-winning Major League franchise owned by a high school because we have a large diamond mine on the outskirts of town. 

Mined by the Irish. 

Question arises. Do we start a steroids-free Barry, or, start giving Babe Ruth raspberry gummy steroids to widen his pupils an extra 6 inches? 

Last human to bat .400 for a season? Ted Williams would be in my starting lineup. Amen, certainly in our own, current parenthesis in reality, the Red Sox superstar was a heck of a man. Might have even captured Hank Aaron’s future title for most career home runs (744) except for a couple of detours. Williams fought in active combat in both World War II AND Korea. Some say, with today’s modern rules, Teddy Ballgame would’ve hit upwards of .415 for the season. 

In my quiet dimension, it’s a perfect May day in Newhall. We never sell out so you can usually put your feet up on the seat in front of you, slouch and watch the fluffy clouds pass. 

Hank Aaron, “Say Hey” Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle would be on the card. There’s better hitters, but I’d have Yogi Berra in the lineup because somebody’s got to catch and besides. Few realize that the New York Yankee had simply insane World Series stats and sitting so close behind home plate, I might eavesdrop on some of his, “Yogi-isms.” After all. He once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” 

And really. Shouldn’t you? 

I’ve heard so many wildly different things about the Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb. His stats are beyond reproach. Some say he was the second coming of Satan. Others, close to him, say he was a victim of false stories passed along for generations. I’d like to see who the man was, myself. Still. I’d have Stan “The Man” Musial there, just in case of potential embarrassments. Some say the St. Louis Cardinal may have been slightly better than Ted Williams. 

Oh. And I’d have Babe Ruth’s teammate, first baseman, Lou Gehrig. 

Before the game, Lou would march out to the mound to give his trembling and famous, “I’m the luckiest man in the world” speech. Because it’s Newhall, Dimension 487133.2A, at the end, Lou would smile, shrug and say into the crackling microphone, “Just kidding. I feel — great!!” 

From my starting nine, I’ve made quite the mess I can see. I hope someone in the lineup can play short. And pitch. Can’t have nine guys, all standing around next to one another in center field. No matter. We’re up first. 

I like living in this dimension. It’s a small town. Fans and players all know one another. During the Seventh Inning Stretch, Barry Bonds awkwardly climbs over the wall to sit next to me. We chat and catch up. Before he takes the field, the epic hitter reaches into his mitt and pulls out a signed baseball, tosses it to me and winks. It says: 

“To Eddie Theile. Sorry I missed you that day long ago in San Francisco …” 

It’s signed, “Seymour Butts …” 

John Boston is a season ticket holder for the MLB Newhall Hart High Indians franchise in another dimension. Visit his bookstore at johnbostonbooks.com.

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