Friday, June 17, 2016

12 Innings and a Requiem

Didn't intend to bracket these two events together but so it goes. Wednesday afternoon into the evening (as it turned out) was getaway day against the Cubs for the Nats, each club leading its division and the Wrigleys boasting the best record in baseball. We had taken the opener, dropped the middle encounter, and now needed the 3rd to make up for losing all four back in Chitown last month.

Strange game in that Strasburg gave up a solo homer in the top of the first and then Nats came back in the bottom of that inning with a score from third on a wild pitch. Then no score until the Nats put it together in the bottom of the 8th to lead by a bare 2-1 going into the 9th where the bullpen promptly gave away two to give the visitors the lead. 

Key steal in the bottom of the 9th set up a Ramos RBI to tie and off we went into extra innings. Another exchange of runs brought us into the 12th and after Michael A. Taylor got on, 37-year-old Jayson Werth smacked one off the right/center field wall to set off the speedy Taylor around the bases from first to score the walk-off winner.

By the 8th, of course, the starting pitchers were gone and it was effectively a whole new ball game, played by tired players waiting to get out of town--in the case of the Nats, to the Coast for series against the Padres and Dodgers, and then the Brewers, coming home eventually to face the ill-performing Mets, who still present the best pitching staff in the majors.

But Friday night we were at Strathmore, definitely the nicest music hall in town with the best acoustics, to hear Marin Alsop lead the Baltimore Symphony in Verdi's Requiem, which I'd never heard before. It was a marvelous performance, with the Choral Arts Society serving as the massive chorus and our friend Phyllis Kaye's friend Elizabeth Bishop singing beautifully in the mezzo role. Actually, all the singers were terrific and the orchestra overwhelming.

Given that it was Verdi, there was plenty of operatic sturm und drang. All in all, a nice week, proving that that other Baltimorean, Mencken, may not been right in scorning opera in English as being as sensible as baseball in Italian--here we had a requiem in Latin and baseball in the many lingos spoken by today's diverse crew of players. Actually the game wouldn't have been complete without an umpire chucking Rendon out after he protested a called third strike in whatever language such outbursts occur these days.

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