People of Earth-One, I come to you with news of a terrible future—one only you can prevent. In this future I am called C189P235; I am from what we call East West St. Louis, one of five jurisdictions run by what remains of the federal government as burnt-out holding cells for those among us who remember the taste of toasted ravioli, the beauty of girls in their summer sherseys, the sounds of Imo's arguments into the small hours. What life was like before the meltdown, and the National Baseball Junta, and extra Wild Card teams.
Someday I'll pay for that memory with my life, or what's left of it. I haven't much time left in your present before They find me here, and when they do I'll be moved to West East St. Louis, to the camps, and I will wish for death, and it will not come. No matter: before they take me back, and before your editor returns to this computer with an unsatisfyingly warm Cherry Coke from the vending machine I've sabotaged, I will share with you the truth of things as they will be, or die trying. It's the last thing I live for, so please, listen. I've minutes left, and the fate of our country depends upon a thorough explanation.
Whatever you do, whatever it takes, do not allow the St. Louis Cardinals to hire this man.
I was like you once. I had a family, a nice home, a calling in life and the means to pursue it. I thought the various curses of the Chicago Cubs were fantasies, stories told to keep children in line and sell beer in tourist bars. Whether this was true once or not became irrelevant sometime in 2009, when low-level intelligence in the Cardinals organization discovered that Cubs Care, a front organization for the Cubs' various skunkworks operations, had successfully weaponized the Curse of the Billy Goat for deployment across the National League Central.
A long time ago—in another life, it seems—I spent more years than I care to admit deep within the Chicago Cubs organization. I saw deep—I saw too much. What you must know is this: Nothing that happens inside Wrigley Field is an accident.
I've been told CardinalsCare had been aware of earlier iterations of the project for some time—in 2010 Aaron Miles was recaptured and deprogrammed at great DeWallet expense, and as his motor functions began to fail in the late stages of contamination Ryan Theriot was quarantined in plain sight in the Cardinals' dugout throughout 2011.
But it is my opinion that these early successes were what led the Cardinals of my future to become complacent—fatally complacent. Drunk with success and made vulnerable by the resignation of Tony La Russa, the primary Cub-hawk in the CardinalsCare cabinet, they listened as Ryne Sandberg told them exactly what they wanted to hear.
The cover story is almost insultingly transparent. What baseball team, drowning under uncompetitive contracts, struggling to engage their fanbase, would alienate their most popular former player in favor of hiring an unpopular short-term solution? What baseball team would announce major front-office changes only to alienate that same player a second time?
A baseball team that wasn't really alienating that player at all. A baseball team that had pegged that loyal player for a job far more important than manager—one that would upset the balance of power in the National League forever. I don't think even Cubs Care knew quite the havoc its tampering would wreak upon geopolitics, global climate, and civilization as you know it now, but I do know this: They wouldn't care. There's no greater concentration of nihilists and misanthropes than within that organization, and it's clear to me now that whatever happens———
The time has come. I hear their footsteps behind me, and if I resist arrest in your timeline the timespace disruption could be devastating. They must not know you know. If you need to speak to me—iffffff riyyroiprqiaofsc if you need to speak to me, find the Corey Patterson in your timeline ask him what he knows a bout the SANDBERG PROJECT
Hi, it's me again, the man who was speaking to you earlier. I was just joshing you! Under no circumstances ask anyone about the Sandberg Project. I'm going to post this now, just like I was going to do earlier, because I am in no immediate danger. Remember, don't talk about the Sandberg Project.