I recently read a very good book by John Fitch V, titled Turning Back the Clock, in which the main character travels through time to stop the sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. The book got me thinking what outcomes I would change in the world of sports if I could. Well there is a whole lot of things, so I limited myself to just five and set some parameters. First I could only change things that happened in my lifetime, from 1971 on, a la the television show Quantum Leap. Second I would have to take the place of somebody that was there. Third I would have to be able to make something happen, in other words I don’t have a cure for cancer so I can’t save Jim Valvano’s life. With all that in mind here are five things, both big and small, I would go back in time and change.
June 2, 2010: I will land in Comerica Park for the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers game. On this night Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga is one out away from a perfect game. Jason Donald steps up and hits a grounder between the first and second baseman. Miguel Cabrera fields it and tosses it over to Galarraga covering first. First base umpire Jim Joyce calls Donald safe. I would take the place of home plate umpire Marvin Hudson. I would be running up the line and see that Donald was out. I would huddle up with Joyce and the rest of the crew and get the call right. The third perfect game of the 2010 baseball season would be in the books.
February 3, 2008: This trip will be to Phoenix, Arizona for Super Bowl XLII. The New England Patriots are looking to finish off a perfect season by beating the New York Giants. It’s the fourth quarter and a third down and five play for the Giants. Quarterback Eli Manning is in the pocket scrambling and eventually throws the ball up for David Tyree. Well we all know how this finished the first time, Tyree pins the ball against his helmet and makes the catch to keep the drive alive. Here I will be Patriots safety Rodney Harrison and instead of trying to knock the ball down, I will get my arm in between Tyree’s arms and pop the ball out of his grasp. The Patriots go on to win 14-10 and lock up their perfect season, and as a Patriots fan I am happy.
February 18, 2001: We now head for Florida and the Daytona 500. This was the race in which Dale Earnhardt lost his life. It was the final lap, of the 200 lap race, when Earnhardt’s car was bumped by Sterling Marlin’s and Ken Schrader’s car struck Earnhardt’s car. Earnhardt hit the wall and was killed instantly. In this case I found it hard to figure out how I could change the outcome. I figured I would become part of Earnhardt’s crew and on the last pit stop fail to get one lug nut on a tire. NASCAR officials would then call Earnhardt in to fix the problem and he would be in the back of the pack. Earnhardt would be mad as hell, but he would be alive.
August 15, 2010: A lovely Sunday for golf in Sheboygen, Wisconsin. We get to the PGA Championsip just in time to see Dustin Johnson about to take a shot from a trampled mound of dirt. Johnson takes plenty of time preparing his shot. I am in the crowd saying, “is this a bunker” over and over again. Johnson finally hears me and does not ground his club. He avoids a two stroke penalty and wins a tie breaker against Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.
September 23, 1978: Lyman Bostock was a 27 year old outfielder for the California Angels in 1978. He was a solid fielder and a excellent hitter that some compared to Rod Carew. He had a lifetime average of .311 in just four major league seasons. That was because Bostock was gunned down in a car in Gary, Indiana. The truly tragic thing was the bullet wasn’t meant for him, it was intended for one of the other three people in the car. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. In order to change this outcome I would become Bostock’s uncle Ed Turner, who was driving the car. I wouldn’t let Lyman leave my house, knowing how the night ends, saying my car wouldn’t start. Then maybe Bostock would have continued what could have been a brilliant career.
Well it is time to put the time machine away, but maybe I will act like Sherman and Peabody again some time. There are still many things I would like to “fix”.
More on Associated Content:
When Everyone’s a Winner Are We All Losers?
Five Best Baseball Announcers of All Time
4 Players who Should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame
Indians and Tigers box score 6-2-2010, espn.com
Super Bowl XLII, nfl.com
Earnhardt Crash Haunts Schrader, cbcnews.com
Lyman Bostock page, bioproj.sabr.org