Early Saturday afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles began warming up for their second game of the season. It was against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium. A few miles to the south, the singers of the Metropolitan Opera were also warming up — for their presentation of Wagner's opera "Die Walküre."
Meanwhile, about 200 miles to the south, I pulled out a six-pack of beer and said, "Why can't I watch the ball game on TV while listening to the opera on radio?" So I settled in with my beer.
The Yankees started a new pitcher, named Nate Karns. The Orioles, with eight of their starting nine new to the team, had already lost their opening game the day before. The opera company, on the contrary, had its usual star-laden cast and the curtain rose on Siegmund, the forlorn hero, staggering through a heavy storm, breaking into a house and collapsing. There he is found by the lady of the house who, he quickly learns, is really his long-lost sister.
The ballgame couldn't match the opera for excitement for a long while. Mr. Karnes and his replacement, Jimmy Yacabonis, staggered into the fifth inning of a scoreless game.
I took a long swig of my beer.
The Yankees were threatening but couldn't score while the Orioles looked as feeble as Hunding, the opera's villain. Siegmund scored by pulling an invincible sword out of a front-yard tree trunk and took off with his sister/lover. Wotan, king of the gods, was unable to rule his own wife, Fricka, goddess of marriage, who persuaded him to help Hunding kill Siegmund. The Orioles, on the other hand, suddenly came to life. Three new Birds singled in succession. On a double-steal, the Yankee catcher, Wotan, I mean Gary Sanchez, threw the ball into center field and two runs scored. The Orioles were winning! I opened another beer.