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What So Proudly We Hailed

Instead of settling an old score, the Orioles wound up losing by it to the Mets all over again. [1]

Instead of settling an old score, the Orioles wound up losing by it to the Mets all over again.

O’s, say, they could see. The O’s could see the first-place Mets coming. It was more twilight’s last gleaming than dawn’s early light, considering the overcast skies and 46-minute precautionary delay before a single pitch was thrown Tuesday night, but once a second pitch was thrown, the Mets led Baltimore in Baltimore, 1-0. Curtis Granderson [2]’s seventh leadoff home run of 2015 had seen to that.

Baltimore had seen worse. Baltimore had been seeing worse since September of 1814, when the British attacked and the Americans defended and Francis Scott Key was inspired [3]. Baltimore hung in there those nights. The town withstood 5,000 enemy troops and a royal bombardment. Surely a solo blast cheered by an invading 7 Line Army [4] wasn’t necessarily cause for calamitous concern.

But modern-day Baltimore might never have anticipated anything so perilous as the pitching of Jacob deGrom [5], whose broad slider and bright fastball will take the fight out of any batting battalion. Backed by another Grandersonian rocket aimed squarely over Camden Yards’s ramparts — and aided by Jonathan Schoop [6]’s less than gleaming defense — deGrom gallantly streamed to a 3-1 lead through seven-and-two-thirds innings, his ERA descending to the nearly unheard of depths of 1.98.

Jacob’s commander proceeded to nervously remove him from the Interleague fight, much to the Mets’ potential peril (Brigadier General Collins certainly drew my red glare). Tyler Clippard [7] and Jeurys Familia [8] each gave signs of bursting in air, but with the bullpen having been buttressed by another couple of runs in the top of the ninth, the scoreboard gave proof that our lead was still there.

In the end, the Mets defeated the Orioles, 5-3 [9], the same glorious score by which the same combatants completed the final battle of their War of 1969. Oh, say, that championship banner did yet wave o’er the land of the Shea, where the Mets had ten days earlier secured a flag at home from the Braves. A new one so proudly we’d hail might wave somewhere nearby soon, but one baseball skirmish at a time.

History doesn’t always repeat itself, but sometimes it provides a damn fine echo.