As I write this, most of the country has gone to bed, and most of them don't even know that this week the New Horizons spacecraft abruptly arrived at Pluto after a long and magnificent journey, nor that the TCU Horned Frogs left the College World Series abruptly after a long and glorious season. Pluto is a dwarf planet, demoted from planetary status via an arbitrary size requirement conjured up by an academy of Scientists. TCU is a giant-hearted team, demoted from the CWS by the arbitrary fortunes of an academy of Commodores. Pluto is a cold, dark place, almost half again as far from the farthest planet before it, Neptune, as Neptune is from the Sun. "Not-in-the-Finals" is a cold dark place, more than half again as far from a National Championship than the Horned Frog faithful wanted to be. Mankind arrived at Pluto through the hard work and dedication of massive teams of people. TCU arrived at Omaha through the hard work and dedication of a massively talented team. Pluto has a companion constantly in orbit with and around it, Charon, which is slightly smaller and could easily compete for alpha status. Vandy likely feels the same way about TCU.
What accounts for this Jupiter-sized disappointment for TCU Baseball and their fans? Would we have liked Walker Buehler to have had the Day Off? Yes! Were the TCU bats as cold and dark as Pluto tonight? Yes. Is baseball just that kind of game, where all the statistics and records in the world won't get you through certain days? Yes. Did this game feel as long as Pluto's 248 year orbit around the Sun? Most of the time, yes. (Pluto hasn't even completed one orbit since it was discovered in 1930; that won't happen until 2178.) But consider yet another theory.... A lot of people felt the wind was a factor in the game tonight, as it effectively kept hits inside the park much (but not enough) of the evening. The New Horizons spacecraft was launched January 19, 2006. Any rocket launch of that size creates incredible atmospheric disturbance. Did New Horizons' launch begin a pattern of wind currents around the planet since 2006 that caused the odd winds in Omaha tonight? Did NASA's choice of the launch date send both their spacecraft and the TCU Horned Frogs to cold dark places? It can't all be coincidence, right? So, yeah, I'm going with that.