A True Crime Story: Driving While Black

RyanCar
Ryan leans against his Honda as he poses for photo after being stopped & searched by police.

I drove over to Fort Smith one morning in late June to attend the funeral of my uncle.  My son also drove over to Fort Smith that same day to spend some time with his Grandmother.

Ryan left OKC about an hour behind me.

Later, my wife sent a disturbing text that I happened to notice during a pit stop at the Love’s Travel Stop just west of the Arkansas River bridge on I-40.

Ryan had been pulled over by the police.

Great, I thought.  He’ll probably have a big speeding ticket to pay.

Turns out, it was a far different stop.

Ryan is African-American and was driving a Honda Accord with Texas plates.  The cop told him he had been pulled over because he “crossed the line.”

That was only the beginning.

After he was pulled over,  the policeman asked him to sit in the back of the police cruiser.  There were two policemen in the car, and a second police car with two more officers parked nearby.

The officers began asking Ryan a lot of questions.  Where had he been? What had he been doing?  Where was he planning to go and why?

Ryan answered their questions. He’s a student at the University of North Texas. He had been at his parents home in Edmond. He was going to visit his Grandmother in Fort Smith.

The cop asked permission to search his car. Ryan said ‘no.’ The officer then said they were going to get the drug dog out of the other police car and sniff his car.

Ryan said he told the policeman that the dog would have a hit on his car because “that’s what you want.”

Of course, the dog showed a “hit,” so the officers proceeded to search every inch of the vehicle. They found nothing.

Finally, the policeman came back and told Ryan he could go. No apology, but no ticket, either. The officer did say he appreciated Ryan’s patience.

I ask Ryan what agency  the officers were from, but he did not know. I assume it was a drug interdiction team from the Sheriff’s Office.

From my perspective, this was a clear case of racial profiling. Young African-American male driver. Texas tags. Driving alone on I-40 headed east.

“That’s just the way it is,” Ryan told me. “Every time I’ve been pulled over the cop asks ‘do you have drugs? Do you have guns?'”

As a 60-something white man, I’ve never been asked by a police officer if I had drugs.  Or guns.

As my wife told me later, if it had been her or me driving that vehicle we would have never been pulled over. Certainly our car would not have been searched.

I’m thankful that Ryan was released unharmed to go on his way. But it also brings home the hazards in this country of driving while Black.

It is real.

Discovering real value of OKC Streetcar

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OKC Streetcar at the Business District stop in downtown Oklahoma City

A few weeks ago, I made the argument in a blog post that the OKC Streetcar had no real purpose, even though I’m a huge fan.

The point was that the Streetcar has no destination, so you can’t really plan a trip, say to the Capitol from downtown. You can read the post here.

After this past weekend of big downtown events, I think I need to revisit the subject.

I made the argument in the original post that maybe the Streetcar could find a purpose by providing transportation into downtown for big events like Thunder games.

Rather than enduring traffic jams and competing for expensive parking near the Chesapeake Arena, fans could find parking near the north end of the Streetcar and ride down to the arena.

Bingo.

Aboard
Aboard the OKC Streetcar, Arts Fest bound

This past weekend confirmed to me that the Streetcar can indeed bring value to our population. With the OKC PrideFest and Arts Festival ongoing simultaneously, thousands of people were drawn to downtown.

My family and I drove downtown Friday evening to visit the Arts Fest and found a convenient (and empty!) lot near N. 11th Street. It was near the North Hudson Streetcar stop.

So, we caught the Streetcar there and rode it down to the Business District stop. We exited and walked a block over to the Arts Fest.

Turns out, there were scores of others who had the same idea. We boarded a Streetcar that had a least 20 people on it along with four others at our stop.

We saw multiple groups of people parking and walking to the northern-most Streetcar stops to ride into the downtown.

My friend Steve reports that his family visited the Arts Fest on Saturday and took the Streetcar down from the North Hudson stop, as well.

When Steve and his family left the Arts Fest to make the return trip, the car on which they rode was packed with more than 50 people, he said.

Of course, the Streetcar was free last week. so take that into account.

And, as Steve points out, occasional festivals and NBA games don’t create ongoing value for the Streetcar.

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Paula and grandson Solomon Stafford at OKC Streetcar Library stop

This morning’s edition of The Oklahoman has an in-depth look at the Streetcar and makes the case that its real value is that of encouraging investment in real estate and construction downtown.

That’s not exactly an endorsement of a Streetcar that serves the greater good.

“It truly is a downtown novelty until ridership is majority residential commuter,” Steve said.

If that is true, then we need a bigger downtown population that is willing to give up their cars to commute, along with an extension of the Streetcar line.

I’m still arguing for a connection to the nearby University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Capitol.

But I took heart in the numbers of people this past weekend who found value in the Streetcar as a means of transportation to big downtown events.

The OKC Streetcar proved to me that it has an actual purpose beyond real estate development and tourism.

It IS there to serve the greater good.

Stillwater’s XploSafe wins EPA ‘Green Chemistry’ award

XploSafe screen

I saw a bit of news this week that took me back more than a decade. A Stillwater-based company called XploSafe has been named 2021 winner of the EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

That’s a big deal because there are more than 1,800 nominations for this award, and XploSafe is the only winner in the Small Business category.

XploSafe was named a Green Chemistry Challenge winner for the capabilities of its invention called PhosRox™, a novel sorbent for the removal of phosphorus and nitrogen from water. The compound reduces pollution and also results in a material that can be used as a timed release fertilizer.

A win-win for everyone.

Anyway, it’s been more than 10 years since I first learned about XploSafe. Actually, I’m not sure it had yet been launched as a startup when XploSafe co-founder Shoaib Shaikh pitched the concept in what was then the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup business plan competition.

If you’re not familiar, the Governor’s Cup – now called the Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup – it is a statewide collegiate business plan competition in which teams pitch real life concepts with $150,000 in cash and scholarships on the line. It is managed by i2E, Inc.

The XploSafe concept was pitched by Shaikh, then an Oklahoma State University student, as a technology to detect explosives with a vision to protect soldiers, airports and other situations.  It was based on a chemical compound developed in the laboratory of Dr. Allen Apblett, an OSU chemistry professor.

XploSafe1Today, Shaikh is the company’s CEO and chief financial officer while Apblett is president and senior analytical chemist.

Over the past decade, the company has expanded its capabilities, and today markets products for air monitoring, chemical safety, bomb squads, first responders, transport security and HAZMAT teams.

My friends at XploSafe sent me their news release on the award, which I’m happy to include in its entirety at the bottom of this post.

Here is a link to an article I wrote about XploSafe on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) in 2018 and published in The Oklahoman. 

Below is the text of the XploSafe news release. Congratulations, XploSafe!

XploSafe Wins 2021 EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Award

Stillwater, OK – 15 June 2021 – XploSafe announced today that it has been awarded the coveted EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Award in the Small Business Category, recognizing a groundbreaking scientific contribution in the green chemistry field for their invention, PhosRox™.

PhosRox™, a novel sorbent for the removal of phosphorus and nitrogen from water, helps to reduce the effects of nutrient pollution and eutrophication on aquatic ecosystems. The PhosRox™ material can then be reused as a time-delay fertilizer for plants and crops once it has been saturated with nutrients.

The annual award, present by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in conjunction with the American Chemical Society (ACS) is “the nation’s most prestigious award program for green chemistry innovations,” says Mary Kirchhoff, Ph.D., director of ACS Green Chemistry Institute and executive vice president of Scientific Advancement at ACS.

Shoaib Shaikh, Co-Founder of XploSafe stated that “we have been developing this technology for many years now. Support from the State of Oklahoma (OCAST), the US EPA (SBIR), and countless partners across the country and world have helped us to reach this spectacular milestone, and we are so grateful to see all of our dedication and hard work come to fruition with such a prestigious award”.

Annually since its inception in 1996, the award has had over 1,800 nominations and only 133 winners across its 5 total categories. The small business category, which XploSafe won, is annually awarded to only a single company across the entirety of the United States.

XploSafe’s Operations Manager, Michael Teicheira, had the following to say: “this award is a major stepping stone in our growth as a company. We set our vision on developing green chemistry solutions over a decade ago, and it has not always been an easy path to walk. We are a small, bootstrapped venture and we are absolutely humbled to join the elite ranks as a winner of this highly sought-after award”.

XploSafe’s partners in this research endeavor included the Oklahoma Aquarium, the Stillwater Wastewater Treatment Plant, Oklahoma State University’s Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department (Dr. John Veenstra and Wayne Kiner), and The Stover Group.

XploSafe based in Stillwater, Oklahoma is a provider of critical safety solutions for homeland security and chemical safety. Their XploSens explosives detection, XPell peroxide safety products, and XCel+ chemical vapor sampling badges are used by first responders, industrial safety officers, threat assessment officials, and laboratory and chemical manufacturing personnel all over the world. PhosRox™: Sorbent for sustainable capture of plant nutrients from wastewater and other waters and subsequent application as time-release fertilizer.

For questions, please contact Shoaib Shaikh, Co-Founder and CEO, at Shoaib@XploSafe.com, or visit XploSafe online at www.XploSafe.com.

For crying out loud, ‘Ted Lasso’ packs emotional punch

Ted Lasso
American football coach Ted Lasso on the pitch as coach of a Premier League team in England.

Confession. I often get so caught up in the on-screen experiences of characters in movies that I have to choke back the tears. The emotion hits me like an unexpected punch.

Sometimes it’s a movie I’ve seen many times, with scenes that stir my emotions again and again.

It’s a Wonderful Life, for instance.

When the entire community of Bedford Falls rushes to George Bailey’s house to rescue him financially at the end of the movie, I’m fighting off the tears. Every. Single. Time. Can’t help it.

And I know what’s coming beforehand.

But recently a powerful scene in a television show hit me right in the feels. It was the final episode of Season 1 of Apple TV’s Ted Lasso.

If you’re not familiar with it, Ted Lasso is a series about an American football coach — Ted Lasso — who’s lured to England to coach a Premier League soccer team.

He knows absolutely nothing about soccer.

Lasso endures countless insults and plots against him throughout his first season as coach of the Richmond team. Yet, he never waivers from his relentlessly positive outlook in every situation.

He delivers a sort of American optimism and corny naivety that bewilders the British.

In fact, Lasso subtly and slowly wins the heart of his players, Richmond fans and even the scheming team owner. She hired him only because she thought he would do a terrible job and ruin the value of the franchise as a way to get back at her ex-husband.

In the end, Richmond does lose the final match of the season, which means it will be relegated to a lower league.

However, after the game, Lasso stands before his team in the locker room and delivers a heartfelt tribute to the players and shows them exactly how far they have come.

That’s when it hit me. Unexpected. Out of the blue.

Ted Lasso office
Ted Lasso in his coach’s office

I found myself all choked up as I watched Lasso’s speech. Fortunately, I was alone in the room, so no one was there to laugh as I blinked back tears.

Anyway, I highly recommend Ted Lasso if you can tolerate the incredible amount of profanity by virtually every character in the show, except Ted Lasso himself.

But Ted Lasso delivers what I see as an awesome message about having a positive impact on people around you — even those who may not be ready to receive it.

I’m not crying. You’re crying.

BONUS! I thought of a few other movies that can hit you with an unexpected emotional reaction. There are scores of them, of course. But these are the ones that are most vivid in my memory.

The Blind Side
A Star Is Born (2018 version with Lady Gaga)
Field of Dreams
Clouds
The Fault in Our Stars (I blame my daughter for taking me to see this one)
The Pursuit of Happiness
Toy Story 3
To Kill a Mockingbird
Good Will Hunting
As Good as It Gets
Moneyball
Dead Poets Society
Good Morning Vietnam

A REAL ID adventure on the Mother Road

Sarah tag agency
My daughter Sarah celebrates after getting her REAL ID license at the Diamond Tag Agency in Chandler

We pulled into the gravel lot of the Luther Tag Agency this morning about 8:40. What luck, the first ones there.

Then I saw the paper sign attached to the door. Tag Agency closed the week of June 14-18.

I laughed out loud. My daughter didn’t see the humor.

Here’s how we got into this situation. Sarah needed to renew her driver’s license by the end of June. It needed to be a REAL ID license.

So, when I was in the Edmond Tag agency to renew a car tag last week, I asked about getting a driver’s license there. The helpful woman behind the COVID-proof plastic window told me I would need to make an appointment. The next available slots were something like two months out.

“But you can go to the Luther Tag Agency and just walk in,” she said.

Perfect. So, this morning we left the house about 8 am on a mission.

When we saw the Luther agency was closed for the week, I Googled the Wellston Tag Agency about 12 miles farther east on Route 66.

We headed down the Mother Road, Wellston bound. We got to the Wellston Tag Agency about 10 minutes before it opened, and were the second customers in line.

After the tag agent finished with Customer No. 1, he asked how he could help us. I said we wanted to get a REAL ID for my daughter sitting next to me.

“We don’t do driver’s licenses here, never have,” he said (with a straight face). “But you can just walk in at the Chandler agency, which is about 15 miles east on Route 66.”

Sarah OnCu
Sarah poses at Wellston OnCue as we head to Chandler.

I was laughing again as we walked out the door. My daughter was fuming, because I had us on a wild goose chase.

We headed east again on the Mother Road. We pulled into the lot of the Diamond Tag Agency about 15 minutes later. There were cars, and people going in and out.

Luck was with us this time. After a wait of only about 15 minutes, the agent called us to the counter.

Yes, he could do a REAL ID license. We turned over our folder of documents, and within about 10 minutes Sarah became the first person in our family with a REAL ID.

We thanked the tag agent, headed out the door and pointed the car back to OKC.

This time, we bypassed the Mother Road and took the Turner Turnpike back to town.

Even if the tag agency gods forced us to drive the Mother Road three towns over, we still got our kicks (and REAL ID) on Route 66.

In softball, there is always joy in Mudville

OU Women
OU softball players lead fans in a cheer during a break in the action at the Women’s College World Series

As I was watching the Women’s College World Series game between OU and James Madison the other night, I was fascinated by how much enthusiasm and joy the players bring to the game.

They cheer and chant in unison in the dugout, they celebrate big hits, runs and good fielding plays. The OU players even came out of the dugout a couple times to lead fans in a cheer.

I fired off a text to a friend who was also watching the game on ESPN. “Softball needs some unwritten rules that suck all the joy out of the game just like baseball,” the text said.

I was kidding.

But it made me realize how much of a contrast there is between baseball and women’s softball. In baseball, it’s all about “respecting the game” or “respecting the opponent.”

No emotion allowed.

Translated, that means you never, ever act like you are enjoying the moment after a home run, a strikeout or a big fielding play.

OU HR
OU player celebrates a home run as she rounds the bases

Baseball has been losing fans by the millions in recent years, and I’m convinced that the ridiculous unwritten rules have played a role in that. Today’s fans — especially young fans — want to see games played with enthusiasm and emotion.

If you’re curious as to what the unwritten rules are that baseball lives by, here’s a pretty good description I found on the major league baseball website. 

There is evidence of late that some of the unwritten rules are being rewritten. I’m talking about the way that big hitters like Fernando Tatis Jr. flip their bats and pause to watch their home runs go out of the park before celebrating as they round the bases.

So far, it appears that no one has retaliated by hitting Tatis in the head with a 98-hour bean ball. So far.

But baseball always wants to draw a line in the sand, and there seems to be a hard line drawn at emotion.

By contrast, the women’s game is such a breath of fresh air. I’m taking joy in their joy.

Their game is a celebration, and I’m celebrating along with them.

We need a Streetcar with a purpose

OKC Streetcar
OKC Streetcar at the Cox Center stop in December 2018

Let me say first that I love the OKC Streetcar. I love to ride the rails of any sort whether trains, subway or streetcar.

Especially OUR Streetcar.

When the OKC Streetcar launched in December 2018, I made a day of it. I took Edmond’s CityLink bus to downtown OKC,  walked over to Leadership Square and caught the tail end of the opening ceremony followed by the launch of the inaugural ride.

Then I walked over to the Library stop, caught the second Streetcar that came by and rode the entire downtown loop, which took almost an hour.

The next month, downtown for a Thunder game with my family, we parked near the Chesapeake Arena and caught the Streetcar up to Automobile Alley, where we exited and walked over to Hideaway Pizza for a pregame meal.

We then caught the Streetcar at the OCU Law School stop and rode it back down to the Cox Center, from where we walked into the arena just as the National Anthem was being performed.

So, yes, I love the OKC Streetcar.

But there’s a problem.

I have no reason to ride it because it’s a Streetcar that goes, well, nowhere. It’s a loop through downtown from Bricktown to Scissortail Park up to NW 11th Street and back down.

As much as I love the rails, our Streetcar wasn’t built for a commuter who would love to use it to get to downtown instead of to ride around downtown in a loop.

As much as people don’t like to hear it, it was built as a tourist attraction.

So, from my point of view, the OKC Streetcar doesn’t serve the population. You see Streetcars go by all the time that are virtually empty. The numbers recently released by Embark show that lack of ridership, although as it pointed out, the Pandemic did it no favors over the past year.

But we have the Streetcar and I still love it. I’m just trying to figure out how it can be made more useful to a commuting population.

For instance, perhaps there could be sort of a commuter lot on the north edge of downtown devoted to people who drive in for a big event like a Thunder game or Scissortail Park concert. They could park at the lot, take the Streetcar on down and not worry about finding a parking space.

Now that would fill an actual need.

My friend, whom I will call “Steve”, suggests a faster Streetcar and new routes.

“Speed and a spur to populated areas to make it a commuter option,” Steve said. “It just takes way too long to get around the segments.”

Thank you, Steve. A commuter option is exactly what it needs.

New routes would be a major financial hurdle at this point. But the Streetcar needs desperately to connect the OKC Innovation District, the OU Health Sciences Center campus and the Capitol — and NE 23rd Street — to downtown.

Someone please make that happen. Then we would no longer have a Streetcar to nowhere.

We would have a Streetcar with a purpose.

Fun at the ol’ ballyard — life returns to ‘normal’

Panoramic shot of Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on 2021 Opening Night

Life as we knew it returned on Thursday, May 13. The Oklahoma City Dodgers opened the home portion of their 2021 season at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

My friend Casey Harness, a long-time season ticket holder, called me early in the afternoon and said he had an extra ticket with my name on it. I cleared it with the home office and agreed to join him at the park about 6:30 p.m.

Masks were optional, as it turned out.

Although the Dodgers lost the game (as they did all but one of their six season-opening road games), it was a special night. Seating was limited and spaced out, but the crowd of about 5,000 still brought enthusiasm and noise.

Here are the top 10 things that made it an awesome night for me:

FREEDOM: The Centers for Disease Control announced early Thursday that Americans like me who are fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus can shed their masks outdoors,  as well as in most indoor situations. I was conflicted upon first arriving at the ballpark. I wore my mask as I entered – as did about say, 30 percent of the people I saw – then took it off after entering the club level food area where I met Casey. I put the mask back on briefly as I waited in line for food, but then took it off and never wore it again the rest of the night.

FRIENDSHIP: On my left sat Casey Harness, my host who invited me to sit in his seats with him. Casey and I worked together at i2E, Inc., beginning in 2009 and have remained friends for over a decade.  On my right sat Ed Godfrey, a long time friend and colleague at The Oklahoman who was actually at the game to write an opening night fan experience story.

WEATHER: It was a spectacular night for baseball with clear skies and warm afternoon that cooled off after dark into a night that could still be enjoyed without any sort of jacket. The only thing missing was a giant full moon rise in the east.

CONVERSATION: One of the great things about watching a baseball game in person is that the pace is conversation friendly. Casey, Ed and I tackled all sorts of problems last night, including the OKC Thunder’s ongoing tanking dilemma. And the new largely unpopular baseball rules that put a man on second to start play in each extra inning. Oh, and the extreme defensive positioning that plagues all of baseball these days.

BALLPARK EATS: The tickets that Casey has come with unlimited food service, so our group sampled grilled burgers, chicken breast sandwiches, chicken strips, peanuts, M&Ms, beer, water and even a hot cup of coffee late in the game when there was a hint of a chill in the air.

FUN AT THE OL’ BALLYARD: The Dodgers have a fun bit between innings late in the game where fans dance (mostly) badly and cameras broadcast their (lack of) talent on the giant hi-def scoreboard screen. There were the usual kids dancing wildly, girls and then a couple of 20-something guys who suddenly ripped off their T-shirts like they were World Wide Wrestling contestants. Laughter erupted throughout the stands. Later, I spotted the shirtless guys sitting behind the first base dugout and giving the umpires the business. Must have been dollar beer night.

PREDICTIONS: The Sacramento River Cats – our foes for the night – had the bases full at one point with two outs. I offhandedly predicted a “weak ground ball to second” to end the inning. The batter ripped a hard ground shot just to the right of second, and the Dodgers’ second basemen made a great stop, got up and threw him out to end the inning. I took credit for calling it, of course.

HIGH-TECH: As far as I can tell, Dodgers tickets now are all digital and sent to your phone, which are then scanned when you enter the front gate. I put my ticket in my iPhone’s electronic wallet, then scanned the URL code at the entrance. It worked great. But have the folks still carrying flip phones been left behind?

FIREWORKS: The opening night game was followed by a spectacular opening night fireworks show that was incredibly loud. There are two hotels located just over the left field fence. The game ended about 10:30 p.m. Can you imagine the unexpected jolt that sleeping patrons received? Followed by angry calls to the front desk, I’m sure.

DO IT AGAIN: There’s not much time to wallow in self-pity after a baseball loss. Teams routinely play every night during a homestand, and this year teams are playing the same opponent six straight to cut down on travel during the pandemic. They do get Wednesdays off this season. Anyway, the Dodgers and River Cats are back at it again tonight. I’ll catch this one on the radio.

A playlist to take you back in time

Album covers

On my way to the dentist one day a few years ago, the song “American Woman” came on the radio. It was followed by Paul McCartney’s “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” and then “A Horse With No Name,” by America.

A wave of nostalgia hit me so hard I almost had to pull over.

I was no longer in my car in the 2010s.  I was a teenager in 1971 sitting in a 1965 Pontiac Catalina (look it up) in Fort Smith, Ark.

This was almost a song-for-song playlist of the music I was listening to in the early ’70s just as I was completing high school. If there were such things as playlists back in 1971.

We had a new FM radio station in Fort Smith with the call letters KISR, which played Top 40 hits and was immensely popular among high school students. Its play list rotation was really small, so you heard the popular songs again and again.

Pontiac CatalinaI wouldn’t have had FM radio in my Pontiac — a hand-me-down from my dad — but that’s the memory that washed over me when I heard the music from a distant time.

Isn’t it amazing that hearing the opening riff to a single song — Neil Young’s “Ohio,” for instance — can instantly transport you back in time to exactly where you were at when you first heard the music?

Sitting in a car. Dragging Main Street. At the lake. Hanging out at someone’s house.

It puts you right there again. It’s almost like Deja Vu (all over again!).

Turns out, that there are studies on the subject of how music can take you back and rekindle vivid memories from decades ago. And how music creates waves of nostalgia that make you emotional for a time long gone.

It even occurs with more recent music and memories. Whenever I hear Phillip Phillips’ “Home,” I’m right back in Chesapeake Energy Arena waiting for KD, Russ, Serge and the rest of the Thunder to hit the court.

“Home’ was the pregame warmup music for an entire season back in the good ol’ days of the Thunder. How I miss it.

The music carries me back.

The press credential: A story

Weldon ticket
Ticket printed in Fort Smith, Ark., to 1934 college football game

My friend Mike Burrows in Denver finds and sends out all sorts of sport-related photos and news stories he comes across.

Mike and I worked together at the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith back in the late ’70s. Today, he is retired from the Denver Post, and I’m retired from The Oklahoman.

Anyway, this morning Mike sent out a photo of a ticket to an Alabama-Mississippi State football game from back in 1934. What caught my eye was the name of the Fort Smith company that printed the ticket, which was in small type at the very bottom.

The ticket and the name of the printing company brought back a vivid memory from my SWTR days.

One day in roughly 1982, the paper’s editor, Jack Moseley, abruptly called me into his office and shut the door behind me. I was the paper’s Sports Editor at the time.

“Did you give someone a press credential to a recent baseball game in Houston between the Astros and St. Louis Cardinals?” he asked.

Why, no I didn’t. Why?

Turns out that someone with a press credential from the SWTR showed up in the press box and disrupted a radio broadcast at the Cardinals-Astros game in the Astrodome.

Apparently, the SWTR “reporter” helped himself to the free beer served to reporters. And overindulged, to be nice.

Then he decided he wanted to meet Cardinals announcers Jack Buck and Mike Shannon.

So, he wandered around the press box level until he found a door that led into the radio booth from which the St. Louis announcers were calling the game.

The “reporter” burst into the room unannounced and caused a commotion. During the game. While Buck and Shannon were attempting to call it.

Needless to say, security was called and the guy was escorted out of the stadium.  Astros officials called Moseley demanding to know why he sent this guy to cover the game.

That’s when Moseley summoned me into his office.

Since neither of us knew what happened, an investigation began and soon revealed the SWTR “reporter” actually worked at the Fort Smith firm that printed the press credential. He merely added his own (real) name on the credential and showed up at the Astrodome.

Comedy ensued, I suppose.

It’s a funny story today, but there was nothing funny to me about this cringeworthy story 40 years ago.