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Rather than sit there for the whole 20 minutes looking stupid, the bassists decided to take that opportunity to sneak off to the bar across the street for a quick one.
After slamming down several beers in quick succession, one of the bassists looked at his watch and said, "hey man, we'd better get back to the symphony hall!"
"Don't worry," said another bass player. "I thought we might need a little extra time, so I tied the last few pages of the score together with string. It'll take 'em a few minutes to get it untied."
After a couple more rounds the bassists staggered back to the hall. About this time one a woman in the audience noticed that the conductor was getting edgy, and said as much to her companion.
"Well, of course," the other woman said. "Don't you see? It's the bottom of the Ninth, the score is tied, and the bassists are loaded.