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Sorry about the mixup tonight. After our Labor Day twin-bill I wanted to meet you for dinner, but every worthwhile St. Louis restaurant and club was packed full of news hounds due to my 50th homer, and we wouldn’t have gotten two minutes of quiet.

So here’s what happened down in Miami last Friday—which I still can’t believe.

It took my cabbie forever to get from the airport to the Miami pier in the sweaty heat, but when I climbed out I could see the Ozeankonig boat about five miles from shore. There was a good-sized crowd of folks waiting behind a police rope between two long cargo containers. Nearly all of them looked Jewish and seemed excited, so I figured they were probably relatives of the boat people. It also meant they might recognize me, so I kept the straw hat I bought at the airport down over my eyes.

The excitement soon melted away, though, when we saw the ship had suddenly stopped moving. Stayed parked way out on the water. The crowd began mumbling and grumbling and after a while a few of them approached a boatyard foreman of some kind, who either didn’t know anything or acted like he didn’t.

This went on for hours. The boat still didn’t move. Finally another guy showed up in a fancy car. This one had a nice suit and federal government air about him, and someone handed him a bullhorn. He turned to the crowd.

“Due to a misunderstanding between the German and United States governments, the political refugees aboard the Ozeankonig ship will be diverted to a Spanish-speaking country south of Florida. We apologize for any inconveniences.”

A flat-out riot happened. Or at least one with lots of hysterical yelling. A couple of the men crowded around the official as he got back in his car, but were pushed away by police.

A “misunderstanding”? What were they talking about? Even if I knew which country they were going to, there was no way I could follow the boat. So I stood there with everyone else and watched the thing turn south and sail away. Thinking about Markie up on the deck, seeing America vanish before his little eyes just made me ill.



Hey Hank,

Sorry about all this, buddy. Don’t forget we’re back at Briggs tomorrow to start a four-game home and away series with the tough Tribe, so hopefully that’ll take your mind off it. Whatever happened in D.C. when you met with those government people again? You never told me.




Nothing much. They still haven’t been able to find that slimy Rolf guy, and think he made it back to Europe somehow. Also to generally keep my nose out of the Markie business. Sure glad I didn’t listen to that, huh?


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