Among other things, I want to know why Erwing Schrodinger gets a Nobel Prize and I don’t.  I was in college when I met Schrodinger and his stupid umlaut and his even stupider cat. I thought the thing with the cat was dumb when I was twenty-two and hung over. It’s even worse now that I’m pouring mixers into blenders to cover the taste of kale instead of vodka. And, of course, it’s even more upsetting because this matter of the cat co-exists with the Reds.

For those of you who did actually useful things with your youth, Schrodinger’s Cat refers to a thought experiment that involves poison and a hammer and a cat and they’re all in a box, and something something the cat is simultaneously alive and dead because we don’t know if the cat is alive or dead unless we look in the box. Which of course completely ignores the fact that it doesn’t matter if we know if the cat is alive or dead; it’s alive or dead whether someone cares check on it or not, much like Steve Chabot’s hair, so I don’t know why we’re even talking about this. It is my understanding this is all a physics thing, and now you know why I majored in English courses, where at least people have the decency to direct you to a dictionary when gibberish shows up.

Schrodinger’s Cat is cool with the hip kids all of a sudden, probably because it was mentioned once on The Big Bang Theory and we seem to be in some sort of post-nerd Renaissance now in which everybody knows what you’re talking about when you mention that you should always let the Wookie win, which I wish someone had clued my classmates into back in 1991 when I was walking around in Princess Leia buns and getting pencil shavings dumped into my bookbag for my pre-coolness. It’s nice to know that the stupid cat has come around again as well, because although he was a giant waste of my time, at least I didn’t have to Google him twenty years later.

Where I will accept the cat is in the context of the baseball offseason. The 2019 Reds are currently alive and dead, unlike the 2018 Reds, which are completely dead, and the 2018 Bengals, which are technically alive, but have been dead to everyone but Dave Lapham since about Week 6.

But we have this baseball team which exists, and yet does not exist. We have prospects and we have coaches; we have re-signs and we have contract dumps. How all this will all come together, or not come together, will slowly unfold in the coming months. In the meantime we get to yell at each other on Twitter over the matter, but in reality, no one knows if this animal is going to have a pulse or not. It’s Schrodinger’s Baseball Team.

I much prefer this state of unknowing than the agony of a hardcore rebuild. Maybe we’re still in a post-Riverfront, pre-Great American Ball Park kind of apocalypse in which there are two stadiums and lots of construction equipment and cranes and a big hole in the wall where left field used to be (this is a thought experiment known as Schrodinger’s Stadium, and it only comes around once a tax levy.) Maybe the building is finished and we just don’t know it because the city workers haven’t gotten around to knocking the safety barriers down yet.

So, I’m fine without opening the box until after Christmas. We’ll know soon enough whether this team is dead or alive.

About The Author

Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.

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22 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    All I know about “the cat” comes from BBT … had to laugh when I saw your title.

    Yes, we are both alive and dead as are all the other teams out there. Our “alive” comes in the eternal hope that drags us through December and January until our boys report to Goodyear. Our “dead” coincides with the anticipation of every trade and free-agent signing that is made, rumored, or yet to be.

    Yet, as the “classic” song tells us, “But the cat came back, the very next day …”

    Merry Christmas, MBE. Thanks for making our life in Redleg Nation a little brighter and lighter with each column.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Thanks! Merry Christmas to you, and thanks for the Goodyear reminder 🙂

  2. greenmtred

    If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? A question, like the question of the cat, that can only spring from humans’ boundless ability to assume that everything is about them. Great read, as always, Mary Beth. Thanks, and have a wonderful holiday season.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you.

      (everything is not about all humans. everything is about me.)

  3. WVRedlegs

    I don’t know about Schrodinger, but Castellini’s Cat is as dead as a doornail. All 9 lives have been spent over the last 4 seasons.
    The cat got a load of what the Reds front office has been shoveling all off-season, and decided to take its own life. Couldn’t bear the thought of another 90+ losses and another last place finish in the NLC. Life #9 endeth. Life #9’s name was Winning Baseball Back in Cincinnati. RIP #9.
    The Reds, and Bob Castellini in particular, have been following the script of the movie “Major League” the last several years. Tanking to lose the fan base as to move the team to a more suitable (profitable) locale. Instead of Miami like in the movie, Big Bob has his sites on Puerto Rico or Montreal. He wants to beat Tampa Bay to the punch on moving.
    Si, Si the Puerto Rico Reds?
    Or oui, oui the Montreal Reds?
    Unfortunately, the Reds don’t have a Jake, a Ricky Wild Thing, a Dorn, a Cerrano, or even a Willie Mays Hayes to help foil the owner’s plans. The Reds just got rid of their Hayes, a guy that runs like Bob Hayes, but hits like crap.
    A very merry Feliz Navidad, or Joyeux Noel to you MB. And to Josh el piloto, or Josh le pilote.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Merry Christmas and happy Alive Reds to you!

  4. Scott C

    Personally I am of the option that no one should talk about “Schrodinger’s Cat” except physicists, and they only amongst themselves. I really don’t care whether the cat is alive or dead as long as it doesn’t leave any “gifts” in my yard. But as to Schrodinger’s Baseball team unfortunately I, and I am assuming most readers here, care a great deal. So though I have no angst over the cat, the Reds are a different story. But the best part of this time of the year is great because most of us want to think of the Reds as alive. Joey is going to come back and once again hit over 300 and hit 20+ home runs over 30 doubles all the while maintaining a OBP around 400. Tanner Roark is going to turn into a #2 starter under our new pitching coach who is going to work miracles with our young pitchers. WE are going to find a centerfielder that cannot only play defense but actually hit. July is soon enough to find out that the 2019 Reds are dead.
    Merry Christmas Mary Beth. Always enjoy your articles.

  5. scotly50

    My position, (assuming the Reds are the “cat”), is not whether or not the cat is dead or alive but rather is the cat even in the box, (in a state of flux), to begin with. Castellini , by slight of hand, could have the fans believing the Reds are in a live or die scenario, when actually the stupid cat is home with Bob’s wife laying on the couch watching Jeopardy. Just my thoughts on this.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I like the current state of flux 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  6. Mason Red

    Maybe the cat is more like Thackery Binx in the movie Hocus Pocus. The cat has everlasting life so he pops back to life after being smashed by a city bus. However I don’t think it’s a fair comparison to the Reds who continue to lie in the street much like roadkill. It’s more like Reds fans who pop back to life during spring training after being flattened by the previous season or seasons.

  7. daytonnati

    MaryBeth, I think you’ve come up with another unsolvable physical conundrum with Steve Chabot’s hair. Where does it start? Where does it end? Kudos!! And Happy Holidays.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Steve Chabot’s hair is only a mystery in the fact it is infinite. There is no beginning. There is no end. It is the alpha and the omega of OH-1.

  8. jreis

    great article Mary Beth. the problem with the analytical age of baseball is that everything now is so mathematically predictable. there are very few 1999 reds scenarios anymore where a team catches you by surprise.
    Here shortly ,baseball analytics machines will spit out their predictions for world series matchups, playoff contenders, and records for each team. and dang it, for the most part, they are accurate!
    they will have the reds dead last in the nl central and predict about 70 wins again. Oh we may surprise some people and win 73 or 74 and heck may even climb out of the cellar if the Pirates have a bad year but all in all its going to be another crappy year for our redlegs.

    I long for the days when all you had was Street and Smiths magazine that came out in march, and they would make some predictions which were always way off. they would give some vague reasons why the team would be good or bad but for the most part you had at least some hope!

    Mod: Let’s keep the language clean. If we would get in trouble for using words in a 6th grade classroom, let’s avoid using them here.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      My physics thought experiment-based columns bring all the reprobates to the yard.

  9. jazzmanbbfan

    Steve Mancuso is my favorite writer on this blog but you are the most entertaining. Merry Christmas.