Casey at the Bat

When I got a comment on the Bull! posting, I clicked on a youtube clip of Ferdinand the Bull, and I notcied some other Disney classics on youtube. One of them was ‘Casey at the bat’, I never heard / saw that one. After googling the text I altered the poem a bit:

Casey at the Bat
After a poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Baez team that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Lyon left at first, and Cheney did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
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 Lee preceded Casey, as did also George and mom,
And the latter was a hoodoo, while the former was a bum;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

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

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as she stepped into her place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, she lightly doffed her hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on her as she rubbed her hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when she wiped them on her shirt;
Then while the prosecutor ground the ball into her hip,
Defiance flashed 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 judge then 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 judge!” shouted someone on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised her hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
She stilled the rising tumult; she bade the game go on;
She signaled to the bailiff, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it and the Judge then 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 her face grow stern and cold, they saw her muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, her teeth are clenched in hate,
She pounds with cruel violence her 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 favoured 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,
Yes there is joy in Orlando–mighty Casey knocked her self out.

————————————————————–

The original ‘Casey at the Bat’ was written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer (August 14, 1863 – August 21, 1940) an American writer and poet.

“Thayer was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and raised in Worcester. He graduated magna cum laude in philosophy from Harvard in 1885, where he was editor of the Harvard Lampoon. Its business manager, William Randolph Hearst, hired Thayer as humor columnist for the San Francisco Examiner 1886-88.

Thayer’s last piece, dated June 3, 1888, was a ballad entitled “Casey” (“Casey at the Bat”).

It took several months after its publication for the poem to make Thayer famous, since he was hardly the boastful type and had signed the June 3 poem with the nickname “Phin”. Two mysteries remain about the poem: whether anyone or anyplace was the real-life Casey and Mudville, and, if so, their actual identities. On March 31, 2004, Katie Zezima of The New York Times penned an article called “In ‘Casey’ Rhubarb, 2 Cities Cry ‘Foul!'” on the competing claims of two towns to such renown: Stockton, California, and Holliston, Massachusetts.

On the possible model for Casey, Thayer dismissed the notion that any single living baseball player was an influence. However, late 1880s Boston star Mike “King” Kelly is odds-on the most likely model for Casey’s baseball situations. Besides being a native of a town close to Boston, Thayer, as a San Francisco Examiner baseball reporter in the offseason of 1887-88, covered exhibition games featuring Kelly. In November 1887, some of his reportage about a Kelly at-bat has the same ring as Casey’s famous at-bat in the poem. A 2004 book by Howard W. Rosenberg, Cap Anson 2: The Theatrical and Kingly Mike Kelly: U.S. Team Sport’s First Media Sensation and Baseball’s Original Casey at the Bat, reprints a 1905 Thayer letter to a Baltimore scribe who was asking about the poem’s roots. In the letter, Thayer singled out Kelly (d. 1894), as having shown “impudence” in claiming to have written it. Rosenberg argues that if Thayer still felt offended, Thayer may have steered later comments away from connecting Kelly to it. Kelly had also performed in vaudeville, and recited the poem dozens of times, possibly, to Thayer’s dismay, butchering it. Incidentally, the first public performance of the poem was on August 14, 1888, by actor De Wolf Hopper, on Thayer’s 25th birthday.” from wikipedia. I suppose the original poem is a part of American culture.

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Comments on: "Casey at the Bat" (8)

  1. “Kelly at the Bat”

    Perhaps the most famous “real” Casey was Mike Kelly, baseball’s first real superstar and one of the finest players ever to grace the diamond. He wrote the first baseball autobiography, and performed on stage after his career was over. On July 28th, 1888, not two months after “Casey” had first appeared in San Francisco, the editor of the New York Sporting Times, who had noted a striking similarity between Casey and Kelly, published an “East Coast” version of the poem, with the first five stanzas removed and “Kelly” substituted for “Casey”. Kelly himself had great fun performing the poem on stage, and this altered version would give rise to later stories that the Sporting News version was actually the original. ”

    http://www.joslinhall.com/casey_at_the_bat.htm a great site with all info about this poem!
    From that site: “Hopper asked Thayer that evening who the inspiration for Casey was, and Thayer replied that it was his old Harvard chum, baseball captain Samuel Winslow. Thayer himself would later declare that there was no “real” Casey, and that the name and vague image of Casey were drawn from a bully who once threatened to beat him up in high school. Such mundane answers have, of course, never satisfied baseball fans, who have come up with any number of “real” Casey’s Thayer had in mind. ” So that is all I can find about it.

  2. Here is a scene from “Finding Forrester.” This is a must see movie for you. Jamar wants to be a writer. He breaks into a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist apt. while in high school. He gets help from the recluse after he accepted into a prestigious college. The man, played by Sean Connery, hated to be around others as it seemed as no one would take his word on his reasons and rationale for why and what he wrote about.

  3. The Raven First published in 1845 by Edgar A. Poe
    Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
    `’Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door –
    Only this, and nothing more.’

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
    And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
    For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore –
    Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
    Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    `’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door –
    Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; –
    This it is, and nothing more,’

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
    `Sir,’ said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
    That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I opened wide the door; –
    Darkness there, and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
    Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!’
    This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!’
    Merely this and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
    Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    `Surely,’ said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
    Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
    Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
    ‘Tis the wind and nothing more!’

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
    In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door –
    Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door –
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

    Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
    By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
    `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, `art sure no craven.
    Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore –
    Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
    Though its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door –
    Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
    With such name as `Nevermore.’

    But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
    That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –
    Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before –
    On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’
    Then the bird said, `Nevermore.’

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
    `Doubtless,’ said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore –
    Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
    Of “Never-nevermore.”‘

    But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
    Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore –
    What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
    Meant in croaking `Nevermore.’

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
    To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
    But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
    She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
    Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    `Wretch,’ I cried, `thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he has sent thee
    Respite – respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
    Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!’
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

    `Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
    Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
    On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
    Is there – is there balm in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

    `Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!
    By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore –
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore –
    Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?’
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

    `Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!’ I shrieked upstarting –
    `Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the bust above my door!
    Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!’
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

    And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
    On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
    And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted – nevermore!

  4. 🙂 I think this poem would also work nicely in an alternative way. If this was Summerschool, it could be a project.

  5. Yep! Wonder what it would have become if a falcon was used instead of the raven?

  6. Less sinister? 🙂

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