I’m impressed by people who wonder about the universe expanding or contracting. The question is way over my head so by default, I keep my opinion real simple. The universe is expanding because human beings are getting taller and can see above the tree line a bit more.
I have no scientific proof, but I do enjoy sitting inside a domed baseball stadium and watching the roof retract. The sky becomes visible and infinity can be pondered again. The universe definitely appears to be expanding.
Spring inching closer adds to my delusion. Every team across Florida and Arizona is sounding out custom-made Cinderella pipe dreams of what ifs. Candles are being lit in dark rooms revealing hope previously buried under dead-end winter. “If Jose Reyes stays healthy and plays 160 games….the Blue Jays can…..” Yes, the universe is expanding.
But in a few weeks, there will be a migration north and that sun drowning practice fields will turn to shadows. Roofs will contract. There will be darkness and scandal; injuries and failure; a 162 game grind. But it promises to be the best of both worlds.
There will be no more grounds crew waiting with tarp in hand. No more checking weather forecasts, no more turtle necks under uniforms. No more rain delays. If it’s sunny and blue, the universe will expand. And if it’s grey and wet, the universe will contract, but momentum whether it be gloom or glory will remain aloof and unchained; mysterious.
A stadium is like a small town. I’m a sucker for its smells, sounds, and colors; swept into the shared heat. It’s one collective bar rail mind and momentum sweeps across its space like a tornado. No fan or player or team can escape its path.
We can zip up tents and hide under domes or sun bath in the lower grandstand. We can shape the perfect body or cultivate a critical mind and it won’t mean a damn thing when the tide turns. It could be a broken bat seeing eye, bloop single that sets a player on fire for 20 consecutive games or it could just be a broken bat bloop single. Maybe it’s contagious. Maybe it’s not. The bleachers can be a frolicky together we sit and in a flash turn to a drunk brawl.
Maybe I should hate domes for keeping momentum at bay, but I don’t because domes don’t. Maybe I lack the wine sniffing equivalent of stadium-architectural snobbery or maybe I’m simply desperate and relish the way momentum tinkers with everything, especially nine men on a field when a ball is thrown to a batter; inside or outside. It doesn’t matter.
Teams pay 50 million dollars for pitchers to kill losing streaks. They fill out lineups with batters who get on base. They put a Kimbrel in the bullpen. They change managers and mascots, hire statisticians and new organ players, bring in home run fences, but they still can’t control momentum.
There will be sabermetrician breakthroughs and good luck charms unveiled, critics and experts, explanations and second guessing, same as forever and through all this noise will be the oldest breeze we’ve never known.