The Pastime

Contributor: Jon Moray

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Rusty “The Crusher” Crusheda stood outside the batter’s box, took a few practice swings while eyeballing the pitcher on the mound for the Kansas City Royals. The pitcher, Lefty Nolan, the ace of the staff and the reigning Cy Young award winner peered back at Rusty, with eyes beckoning him into the batter’s box. He was no ordinary pitcher and Rusty was no ordinary hitter. And this showdown was no ordinary showdown.
It was the last game of the season and Rusty was a homerun away from breaking the single season record. The stadium was overflowing with fans, hoping to witness an historic night. Lefty had something to gain from this game as well. He was going for the league’s lead in wins, trying to notch number 25 under his belt and all but guaranteeing a second consecutive CY Young award. A reporter asked him before the game whether he was going to pitch to Rusty, to which he replied, “I am coming with my best and we’ll see if his best is better than my best.” Lefty’s best featured a fastball clocked as high as 105 mph. Rusty’s best was destroying a fastball. Something had to give.
Rusty stepped into the batter’s box, while a ball boy handed the home plate umpire a special hologram marked baseball to authenticate the identity of the potential record setting baseball. No one in the stadium was sitting. Flashbulbs were popping as Rusty prepared to bat. Networks broke away from their regular programming to cover Rusty’s every move at the plate.
Lefty bore down, focused on the catcher’s signals. He shook off a curveball and a waste pitch outside before agreeing on his bread-n-butter, the fastball. Lefty went into his wind up and hurled the baseball toward the plate. The pitch went right down the middle and Rusty swung as hard as he could. He made contact and the ball skyrocketed off his bat and into the chilly autumn night, gradually elevating up and over the right field upper deck façade. The ball looked like it was going into orbit as it disappeared out of the stadium. Suddenly, it was gone, vanished, out of thin air. Everyone that saw the ball thought they lost sight of it in the dark. Fans that were outside the stadium and were situated in the vicinity where the ball would’ve landed, reported never seeing it make land fall. They did report seeing a flash and a vibrating blur in the direction where the ball was leaving the stadium. The ball would never be found, becoming the strangest and most unsolved mystery in modern history.
Unknown to any of Earth’s scientists, the flash and the vibrating blur represented a portal to another dimension, into a world in its infancy in regards to evolution.
Oog worked diligently on sharpening his rock into a point when a thump behind him startled him and drew his attention. He turned and saw a white foreign object lying in the dusty tan terrain. He cautiously hunched over to the object and surveyed it curiously. He hopped around it several times before kicking at it lightly. He gathered enough courage to grasp at it and pick it up. He felt the texture of the red stitches as he brought the sphere to his mouth. He instantly spat, disgusted at the beaten leather taste.
Several other inhabitants converged upon him, wanting to examine the new object. Oog ran off in defense and was able to distance himself from the crowd, suddenly becoming protective over his new souvenir. Gretch, the biggest and the most feared among the natives, picked up a large club and stomped over towards Oog. Oog, fearful of the giant, backed away and in his haste tripped over a large stone, dropping the sphere in the process. Gretch made up ground, while Oog quickly shot to his feet, and retrieved the orb. As Gretch grew nearer, Oog threw the sphere at Gretch in desperation and Gretch instinctively lifted his club in a swinging motion to defend himself. The ball met the bat and careened off of it about two hundred feet. They both looked on in wonder at the flight of the object and grunted at their discovery. Oog retrieved the ball and again tossed it at Gretch and a new pastime was born.

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