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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday's for Kids XX -- CASEY AT THE BAT

So I sort of flip-flopped-blended the kids stuff and poetry this week, but what the heck.  Both today's and Sunday's are fairytales of sorts and have both been interpreted--loosely--by Disney.  I'm not offering much commentary, but leave the comparison, favorable or not, to you.

Casey at the Bat
by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then 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 which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that -
We'd put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked 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 on 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;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they'd a-killed him 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 echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in 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, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.


  1. Thank you so much! Lifelong baseball fan (somehow that doesn't seem appropriate, maybe worshiper) and, combined with the time of the year, this just brightens up my day.

  2. I had this memorized once, like "Jabberwocky." Always been one of my very favorites.... The movie, however, I'm not so big a fan of. The poem is much more powerful. (Have you gone back to watch the "Mickey and the Beanstalk" yet?)

  3. No, I'll probably get to both of those this weekend. In Ken Burns's "Baseball", there's a clip of a really great (probably a bit melodramatic, but hey that's theater!) recitation of this. The guy's practically in tears at the final paragraph.

  4. After this, I decided to watch "Baseball" again and came across this fact in episode 1: Baseball was the favorite sport of Joseph Smith. There you go: baseball=the official sport of the Church of Latter Day Saints. :)

  5. I knew that about Joseph Smith, in fact. He was a big wrestler, as well, of all things, and apparently insanely strong for his size and demeanor.

    [And, with all ;) I can manage, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints"; cumbersome, but two of those words are my very favorites. ;) ]

  6. LOL Don't get pushy! I figured that since it's abbreviated LDS, "Church of Latter Day Saints" would be good enough. It's really the fault of the (Roman) Catholic Church. Since they stole the simple name, now every church's name has to be 58 words long.

  7. ;) Or the fact that there are so many churchs, and everyone's looking for an identity.

  8. dad used to tease me by calling me "kc at the bat" when we'd play ball for fhe. remember the giant plastic bat?

  9. How could I forget!? Those were some of my favorite times.


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