Tuesday, October 11, 2016

High Notes

ALDS: Brooms Everywhere

In TV terminology, "Sweeps Month" designates one of four annual month-long stretches where the Nielsen ratings for television programming are most significant, as they are used to set advertising rates for each subsequent three-month period. Traditionally,
one of these periods begins at the tail-end of October and runs all the way through the Thanksgiving weekend.

In American League baseball terms, October 2016 has turned into its own version of "Sweeps Month," as both of the ALDS best-of-five series resulted in three-game sweeps.

At Fenway Park in Boston, the Central Division Champion Cleveland Indians finished their three-game sweep of the Eastern Division Champion Boston Red Sox, winning 4-3 in a game that had more than the usual amount of dramatic moments.

In a rematch of last year's dramatic ALDS series, the Wild Card Toronto Blue Jays wound up sweeping the Western Division Champion Texas Rangers this time, winning Game Three 7-6 in 10 innings at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The game ended when Blue Jay 3B Josh Donaldson scored all the way from second on a throwing error on a potential double-play ground ball.

"So, who are you going to root for in the ALCS?"

Even though they gave my beloved Kansas City Royals fits this past season, I'm pulling for the Indians...their fans haven't seen a World Series winner since 1948, and it would be cool to see that drought come to an end...

NLDS: Then Play On

I'm an American League guy, always have been, so I'm not so invested in the outcomes of the National League playoff series, but I do enjoy watching exciting games. On that score, it would certainly be tough to beat last night's wild NLDS Game Three at raucous AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Facing elimination and also the Chicago Cubs' best pitcher, the San Francisco Giants stayed alive with a roller-coaster 6-5 win in 13 innings.

Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the 8th, the Giants rallied to score three runs and take a 5-3 lead into the 9th. Their bullpen couldn't hold it, though, and Cubs 3B Kris Bryant's two-run homer set up the extra-inning drama.

Meanwhile, at Dodger Stadium
the Washington Nationals took a 2-1 lead in their NLDS series with an 8-3 blowout win.

The Nationals led 4-3 heading into the top of the 9th, then scored four runs to put the game out of reach. The rally began with a leadoff homer by LF Jayson Werth.

"No preference for who wins the NL pennant, then?"

Well, it would be good for baseball if the Cubs or the Nationals made it to the Fall Classic, but I'll be rooting for the American League regardless...

Happy Birthday!

"Dutch" at work in his office

On October 11, 1925 Elmore John Leonard, Jr. was born in New Orleans.

Beginning his writing career in genre fiction, Leonard went on to become one of the most popular, successful, and influential prose stylists of his generation.

Leonard's famous "10 Rules of Writing" is both funny and entirely correct, and had quite an influence on my own approach to writing.

Leonard with Timothy Olyphant's "Raylan"
My favorite recent work of his was his stories that became the basis for the
TV series Justified, one of my all-time favorites which ended its six-year run in April 2015. Leonard actually served as an Executive Producer and story consultant on the series, saying that series star Timothy Olyphant was
"the kind of guy I saw when I wrote [Raylan Givens's] lines."

Leonard passed away on August 20, 2013 but left us a rich legacy of brilliant stories and insightful non-fiction. Dutch was one of the those rare authors whose work is always worth reading.

Elevating Our Discourse

From the pen of Henry Payne, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

Although he was born in Germany, George Frideric Handel spent the majority of his career as a composer in England, where he became a naturalized subject in 1727. Like most composers, Handel relied on wealthy patrons to support him, and in his case those patrons included British nobility: Richard Boyle, James Brydges, Thomas Pelham-Holles, Queen Anne, King George I, and King George II.

Handel's first commission after becoming a British subject was to write the coronation anthems for King George II and Queen Caroline. The pieces he wrote became widely popular, and have been performed at the coronation of every British monarch since their debut.

On October 11, 1727 Handel's anthems were performed publicly for the first time at the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

The Sixteen are a British musical collective devoted to performing English music from the Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical eras using period arrangements and instruments.

In early 2009 the group released
a recording of Handel's famous anthems to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer's death. It turned out to be one of the group's most popular albums ever.

Thanks in part to the popularity of this recording, the group was invited to perform the works during the 2009 BBC Proms, held at London's famous Royal Albert Hall.

Today's send-off is the ensemble performing "Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened," filmed live on August 12, 2009. Enjoy...

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