Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Play Ball!

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2006 at 10:35 AM

The playoffs are starting, and you've got to love the formerly lowly Tigers. To mark the occasion, some 19th century lines from W.A. Thayer (as best I can remember them):

Casey at the Bat

Well, the outlook wasn't brilliant
For the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood 4-2 with but
One inning left to play.

And so when Cooney died at first
And Barrows did the same
A sickly silence fell upon
The patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go
In deep despair, the rest
Clung to that hope that springs eternal
In the human breast.

They thought, if only Casey
Could get a whack at that
They'd put up even money now
With Casey at the bat. But Flynn preceded Casey
And so did Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a fraud
And the latter was a fake.

So on that stricken multitude
Grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance
Of Casey's getting to the bat.

But Flynn let fly a single
To the wonderment of all,
And the much maligned Blake
Tore the cover off the ball.

And when the dust had settled
To show what had occurred,
There was Blake safe at second
And Flynn a-huggin' third.

From out 5,000 throats and more
There rose a lusty yell;
It thundered through the valley
And it rattled in the dell;

It breached upon the mountain
And recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey,
Was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner
As he stepped into his place,
There was pride in Casey's bearing
And a smile lit Casey's face.

And when responding to the cheers
He lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt
'Twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him
As he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Ten thousand hands applauded
As he wiped them on his shirt.

And while the writhing pitcher
Ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eyes,
A sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather spheroid
Came hurtling through the air,
But Casey stood a-watching it
In haughty grandeur there.

Close by the sturdy batsman
The ball un-heeded sped:
"That ain't my style," said Casey.
"Strike one," the umpire said.

From the benches black with people
There arose a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm waves
On some stern and distant shore.

"Kill him! Kill the umpire,"
Shouted someone from the stands,
And like they'd have done it
Had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity
Great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult,
He bade the game go on.

He signaled to the pitcher
And once more the spheroid flew,
But Casey still ignored it
And the umpire said, "Strike two."

"FRAUD!" cried the maddened thousands
And the echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Casey
And the audience was awed.

They saw his face go stern and cold,
They saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey would not
Let that ball go by again.

The smile is gone from Casey's face,
His teeth are clenched with hate,
He pounds with cruel violence
His bat upon the plate!

And now the pitcher holds the ball
And now he lets it go
And now the air is shattered by the
Force of Casey's blow!

Oh, oh ...

Oh, somewhere in this favored land
The sun is shining bright,
Somewhere a band is playing
And somewhere hearts are light,

And somewhere men are laughing
And somewhere children shout,
But there ain't no joy in Mudville:
Mighty Casey has struck out.

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