In honor of the World Series, “Casey at the Bat”
This reading of an 1888 poem about baseball is shared by seventh-grade students from Millboro Elementary School with input from this reporter as needed, due to audio corrections. It is in honor of this year’s World Series of baseball. The author is Ernest L. Thayer, and inside C.F. Payne’s illustrated version
a dedication reads: ”For all those who aren’t afraid to strike out, and are still willing to bat.” A special thank you to Nick, Caitlin, Natalie and Draven for their help.
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 few got up to go in deep despair. The rest clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breat;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that-
We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat.
But Flynn preceded, 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 despised, tore the cover off the ball; and when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred; there was Johnnie 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, and it rattled in the dell; It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat, for Casey mighty Casey, was advancing at 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 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 some one on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have 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 sphereoid 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 the ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate; He punds 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.