Within hours of my recent post concerning paradigm shifts I was contacted by Professor Grubelhoof of Slough University who was keen to discuss his latest research project. "The changes in the universe that you make such weak jokes about are actually happening" he told me "and I have a machine that can prove it,it’s called a Particle Accelerating Thermal Hygroscopic Electrolyte Thermal Imaging Coagulator". I asked him if he realized that he had used "thermal" twice, and once the sound of him bashing the phone against his head had receded he explained what the machine could do.
"You understand the principle of "Schrodingers cat" of course" (I neither knew this Schrodinger or any of his pets but decided to keep quiet) "well, essentially a new universe is created with every action that we take, and what my machine does is enable me to look into these alternate worlds."
I was fascinated and asked if it would be possible for him to give me some details about how baseball has developed in these other places. He told me that he simply had to turn a few dials and it could be done "but remember" he said "the greater the number of the universe the greater it will have departed from our own world". These are the results as he explained them to me;
Universe #5– technology is used extensively throughout the game.Computer programs call balls and strikes, and contentious plays are decided by video replays. Disputes have been completely eliminated from the sport but unfortunately games now take 12 hours to complete and attendances have plummeted. Tractor pulling is now considered the national pastime.
Universe #23– the headline on Baseball Tonight was the spontaneous combustion of Scott Olsen whilst pitching against the Diamondbacks, "it seems that he got some dirt on his uniform and he just went over the edge" a spokesman for the Marlin’s said (baseball related explosions are not unusual in this universe but this incident was said to be the worst since the "Lou Pinella Disaster" of 1995 in which 12 people died).
Universe #87-baseball is unrecognizable in a universe in which the English still rule America, the game stops for cream tea after the 5th inning and a home run is referred to as an "absolute corker", the star player for the Boston Britishers is Lord Frederick Smythe-Jenkins.
Universe #155– President Thomas Cruise has declared that Scientology is the official religion of the United States. The Hollywood Thetans are the reigning World Series champions and the "post game audit" is a traumatic but necessary part of the fan’s experience.
Universe #289– America has prohibited immigrants from entering the country since the Second World War. As a consequence the level of play is at such a low standard that most talented players ply their trade in Latin America. "Most of my players are frightened of even catching a ball" complained Yankees owner Rudy Giuliani.
Universe #586– during the golden years of Hollywood baseball changed into a "pro-celebrity" sport, with teams made up of a mix of players and stars. The "Matt Le Blanc Mets" are the current force in the National League with the "Regis Philbin Angels" dominating the American League. "Pro-celebrity baseball keeps going from strength to strength" said Commissioner Paula Abdul.
Universe #1033– the world is ruled by apes, and an astronaut is grief stricken to find a half buried Statue of Liberty by the ocean side.
It was at this stage that I decided to take my leave of the Professor and his amazing machine. But it was incredible to think that with every pitch thrown a new world is created,with every home run that Chad Tracy hits a new universe is born (six already this year).