Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky paced back and forth in a dim room at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Something weighed heavily on his mind. He had just seen Wilhelm Richard Wagner's opera, Das Rheingold. Later, he admitted to his friend Mily Balakirev that he had mixed feelings about the work. "It is unlikely nonsense," Tchaikovsky said in his native Russian tongue, "but through which, from time to time, it sparkles unusually beautifully with astonishing details."
"Ah, but Pyotr," Balakirev said as he stroked his magnificent Cyrillic beard, "Have you heard the Royals? They surely own more unlikely nonsense than anybody."
Tchaikovsky stopped pacing, spinning around in the St. Petersburg room, a candle flickering in the corner. "The Royals? Yes, I have indeed heard of them. They are an infuriating bunch, like a gaggle of oboes slightly out of tune from each of the others."
Balakirev chuckled. "Ned Yost has Alcides Escobar leading off again, my friend. What a dumb American. Our Devil Rays should have no problem disposing of them like a disgruntled worker."
Tchaikovsky could do nothing but stare. Later, he would admit that it was there, learning of Escobar's continued existence at the top of a Major League Baseball lineup, that he found inspiration for the 'Fate' motif found in his Fourth Symphony.
Chris Young starts to day for the American Royals:
And the lineup for the Russian Devil Rays: