Loading...
Menu
Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Poetry  ➡  American poetry

Casey's Last at Bat

Casey’s Last at Bat

by

Steven D. Bennett

 

Shakespir Edition

 

Copyright © 2016 by Steven D. Bennett

****

 

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Joyville team that day

For they hadn’t won a game against the Mudville nine since May

And playing on the Mudville field would prove a might chore

For the players were like animals, the fans were that much more

 

It looked to be a miracle for them to just survive

As curses rained upon them from the moment they arrived

But they were determined, for the team that won the game

Would go on to lasting glory, those who lost to lasting shame

 

But in getting to this meeting with their hated Mudville foe

They had used up all their pitchers, winning ten games in a row

Leaving all exhausted, save for one rode the pine

Old Jack McGraw, the veteran, of ten campaigns plus nine

 

He had never been a champion, for which he took the blame

Yet he swore he’d give it all he had, as this was his last game

But not a man left playing had seen Jack in his prime

Even his own teammates thought him well beyond his time

 

Perhaps it was because their foes had never seen a ball

That was thrown so slow or thrown so low, they barely hit at all

Whatever magic on the mound old Jack was conjuring

When came the ninth, up four to two, it seemed his team might win

 

Then Cooney tipped a blooper pitch he hit from bended knee

Tapping one to second and thrown out by Bob Magee

Barrows hit four fouls before aiming one just fair

Knocked down by Cole at third who threw him out with time to spare

 

When Flynn stepped up Jack took a breath to calm down every nerve.

One out to go, but he did know Flynn couldn’t hit a curve

But the next pitch slipped away; instead of turning tight

It fell flat across the plate and Flynn then slapped it into right

 

Then Jimmy Blake, the cheater, and the leader of his team

Waited on a screwball and did hit it on the seam

The screaming drive dropped down in left and deadened on the grass

Around the bases Flynn did fly, for he was very fast

 

But like a bolt came Gunner Jones and with a lightning throw

Stopped Flynn at third as Blake took two, both no where else to go

Back on the hill Jack wiped his brow upon his sweat-stained hat

The winning run now at the plate; ‘twas Casey at the bat

 

Now Jack and Case had history, and memories which stung

With brand new sores—the Mudville’s scores were by his two home runs

Casey nonchalantly dug his heels into the ground

Then smacked the plate and sneered at Jack and spat out toward the mound

 

Jack grabbed some dirt and rubbed his hands before he bent down low

To get the sign, then straightened, wound, and let the spheroid go

Casey stood as if amused and never looked at all.

It cut the corner of the plate. “Strike one,” proclaimed the call.

 

The fans were drunk and angry and they would have stormed the field

But an upraised hand from Casey and a smile made them yield

He waved invitingly to Jack as if to say, “Come on!

I’m waiting for that home run pitch, just like the other ones.”

 

Jack had seen this all before for he knew Casey’s style

He’d let the next one go, as well, the third hit out a mile.

So he tossed a flutterball which danced in Casey’s eyes

Before sinking with a sputter, as “Strike two!” the umpire cried.

 

Bottles thrown began to bounce upon the beaten sod

But Casey stopped them with a glance—to them he was as God—

then focused his attention to the man who held the ball

And strained his giant muscles making all around look small

 

The faces looking down on Jack all brimmed with seething hate

Reflecting the dark spirit of the man now at the plate

But a calmness seemed to settle as if sent from up above

And it made Jack change the grip upon the ball within his glove

 

Without a thought he let it fly into a sudden breeze

And it floated in the current and at times it seemed to freeze

But it kept on moving forward to the amazement of them all

It looked as though an unseen hand was motioning the ball

 

Casey grimaced as he swung, his eyes a fiery glow

Mustering all the strength he had to strike his mighty blow

And when it seemed the massive bat would crush the spheroid there

It passed the ball by harmlessly and all he hit was air

 

It found the catcher’s glove as Casey fell upon his knees

The ump, as if surprised, then raised his arm and said, “Strike three.”

And all of time seemed to stand still as if it wasn’t true

The final proclamation coming from the man in blue

 

It took some time for all to see the game was really done

The fans still unbelieving that the Joyville nine had won

Then their shock turned into rage aimed at the hometown team

Whom they had loved when winning, but in losing crushed their dreams

 

Their fury took a turn toward Casey, rising from the dirt

Who stood astonished when a thrown tomato hit his shirt

His slow sure gait soon quickened as the crowd spilled from their seats

As they chased him from the field and through the muddy Mudville streets

 

The Joyville team had stood and watched the whole affair take place

Before gathering together with relief upon each face

Presenting Jack the ball they cheered, then walked off one last time

To leave the dirty town and team of Mudville far behind

 

But Jack alone stayed on the field, not wanting to believe

That his final game was over, and now it was time to leave

Standing on the mound he took one long last look about

Then held up high the ball with which he had struck Casey out


Casey's Last at Bat

In 1888, Casey at the Bat was published in the San Francisco Examiner and became an instant classic. Written by Ernest Thayer, it was popularized in vaudeville and throughout the world. The anguish of the Mudville fans at their hero's failure is a feeling all baseball fans have felt. But there has never been a telling of the story from the opposing team's point of view. In 'Casey's Last at Bat' we read of the Joyville team, who find themselves in Mudville for the championship game. Surrounded by hostile, drunken fans, playing a team known for cheating and dirty play, they must turn to their veteran pitcher of 19 seasons, Old Jack MacGraw, playing his last game. But he must use all the skill and guile at his command to end his career with a victory and his last chance to be a champion.

  • ISBN: 9781311062581
  • Author: Steven D. Bennett
  • Published: 2016-05-18 04:20:06
  • Words: 1031
Casey's Last at Bat Casey's Last at Bat