Far From Home Plate

by Juniper Brinegar, age 10
Far From Home Plate Juniper is a rising fifth grader in Maryland. She likes to play soccer, participate on dive team, and play her clarinet. She reads fiction with a twist of mystery. When she's not writing stories about time travel, you can find her with her cat Solar, who's as sweet as a cat can get.

“James had to push and shove to get through. He couldn’t even see over all the tall masses pushing him forward. James’ heart was pounding. He was sweaty. He was breathing heavy.”

Chapter One 

James stared at Ryan batting for the Chicago Colts leading 35-7 against the Louisville Colonels. The fastball pitch and… 

“Bam! He hit a homerun! This is the greatest picnic of the season in the history of baseball and it occurred at the West Side Park today when the Colts broke the record by scoring 36 runs on 32 hits for a total of 51 bases,” the commentators exclaimed. 

The crowd roared with excitement. People would remember this day forever. James jumped up and down in his seat. His brown hair flowed as he jumped in the cool June wind on that hot exciting day. James and his dad were sitting in the nosebleed seats high in the air overlooking the field. All the players looked so tiny from high up. No one had a very big expectations for the Chicago Colts because they had lost eight of their previous ten games.

“Wow, Dad, that was a great game!” James gushed loudly over the noise of the crowd.

“I know; this is amazing!” shouted James’ dad. 

The game eventually ended, with the Louisville Colonels not scoring any more runs. From high up James and his dad could see all the Chicago Colts players with their arms around each other, jumping up and down with excitement. June 29, 1897 would be the year that the Chicago Colts broke the record for the most runs in a MLB game. Every person paused to take in what had just happened, while usually the crowd left quickly to get home. Then suddenly everyone flooded out of the stadium pushing against each other at the same time to find the ten year-old James Marcelin lost in the crowd. James had lost his father’s hand by people ripping their hands apart in a hurry to get through. James had to push and shove to get through. He couldn’t even see over all the tall masses pushing him forward. James’ heart was pounding. He was sweaty. He was breathing heavy. Would he ever find his dad again? James saw a woman trying to get through the crowd. 

James went over and asked with a shaky voice, “Excuse me, have you seen my father?” 

She replied, “Well, what does he look like?”

“He is really tall and has a plaid jacket, hazel eyes, and a hat… it’s like a business hat.”

“Oh, sorry, I don’t remember seeing someone like that,” she sighed. 

“Well, thank you for your time,” James said back politely. 

James went over to some other stranger and asked again, “Excuse me, have you seen my father?” But the man just ignored him and kept walking to get out of the rambunctious crowd. 

So instead of asking another stranger, James went to the fence to get out of the rush of people and to try to see his dad. He tried to see over all the tall strangers, but he couldn’t spot his dad. James decided that he would go back to his seat, for maybe his father was waiting there. But when he arrived at his seat, there was no one to be found. Every person had left the stadium. Then, out of nowhere, standing before James was the player for the Chicago Colts, thirty-four year old Jimmy Ryan. James’ eyes flicked to Ryan’s face, who was standing tall in front of him. Was he actually meeting the Jimmy Ryan? His brown, bushy mustache and long face made him easy to recognize and hard to miss. When he spoke his voice was very bold as if he were speaking through a megaphone. Jimmy was wearing a striped cap that covered the brown mop of hair on his head. 

James stuttered,“A..a..are…youu…Jimmy…Rrryan?”

“Who else would it be?” Jimmy said, slapping James heartily on the back.

“I’m… a big fan!” James exclaimed. “I’m trying to find my father, he’s really tall, and he has a plaid jacket, and a business hat on.” 

Jimmy replied, “Well, I haven’t been paying much attention to people passing, but if you want, you could have a tour, and we could look for your father.” 

As James and Jimmy started at the locker rooms, his dad, Charles Marceiln, was rushing through a door from the concession stands to the seats, desperately searching for his son. He felt queasy, like he was about to do a big performance. Once he was through the door, he was suddenly back at the concession stands. But something had changed. He was back in a crowd of people. But they were all carrying a little box that was almost 2-dimensional. Most people also had Cubs caps on. Charles wondered who are the Cubs? As he looked around he saw a shop, but people were sliding odd cards, not paying with paper money.

Instead of just gazing around, Charles asked a man wearing a Cubs hat where they were, and the man snarled, “Where do you think we are? We’re in the Cubs stadium of course.” 

“Who are the cubs?” Charles asked.

“Only the greatest team in baseball history since 1903.” 

“Wait, what’s that date?” 

“1903,” he answered

“Wait, then what’s today? 

“It’s June 29th, 2019,” the stranger said then hurried to get to his seat. 

“… 2019,” Charles said panting.

Then suddenly, Charles’ head spun as if he had been spinning all day and the noise of the crowd slowly got fainter and fainter… until he couldn’t hear or see. Everything went black.

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