Suddenly, rounding another staircase, the maestro and his wife stepped out into the searing infield lights just to the left of home plate, where Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Mark Walter, Todd Boehly and inevitably Tommy Lasorda were watching the Dodgers fall behind the Giants in the top of the fifth inning. In a flash, introductions were made, hands were clasped and the Domingos took their VIP seats alongside the Dodgers' leadership team.
But not for long; like a relief pitcher, Domingo was just getting warmed up.
First he escorted Marta, who'd tired of climbing stairs, to a more comfortable spot in the stadium's plush sports-bar lounge. Then he raced toward the dugout behind first base, where three female singers, all members of L.A. Opera's Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, a paid residency for aspiring music professionals, were preparing to belt out "God Bless America."
"Still two more acts!" Domingo yelled, waving to fans who cheered as he swept past.
"It's amazing, his stamina and energy," said Marko, hard on Domingo's heels and cradling the autographed baseball that Lasorda had given the maestro. "I'm much younger than him, and it's hard to keep up with the man."
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After the seventh-inning stretch, Domingo was off again, this time to the right field deck seats to spend a few at-bats with 40 members of L.A. Opera who were attending the game. When a Dodger was thrown out trying to take third base, the stadium groaned.
"What a mistake!" the maestro cried, deciding it was time to rejoin his wife in the lounge. On his way, he was stopped every 10 yards or so by a cellphone-wielding fan.
"That's an icon right there," said one, José Ramírez, after snapping a picture of himself with Domingo. "I saw him perform with Three Tenors. Loved it. I'm not going to say I'm a huge opera fan. I like all music. I especially like him."
Back in the lounge, Marta Domingo was lamenting the errant baserunner in two languages. "No tenía tiempo! — He didn't have enough time!"
Never mind. Within minutes her husband was engulfed by Dodgers concession workers, most of them Mexican and Central Americans finishing their shifts, politely requesting a photo with "Señor Plácido."
Domingo posed for every one. Between handfuls of peanuts, he wolfed a Dodger dog, washed it down with a plastic cup of Sauvignon Blanc, and polished off the repast with soft-serve ice cream — all while discussing his plans to make L.A. Opera tickets more affordable.
A couple of more outs and it was all over for the 2012 Dodgers.
"What an exciting day!" Dominic said to his grandfather. It would've been even more exciting, Domingo replied, a bit sadly, if the Dodgers had won.
But in baseball, unlike opera, there's no crying. Tomorrow would bring another act, a new performance. As Domingo took his wife's arm and headed toward the exit, past a stadium clock closing in on midnight, he seemed in no hurry for his long day's journey to end.
"I don't know how long I'm going to sing," he had said earlier. "I just keep making plans, and we will see."
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