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On the Bright Side

June 3, 2013

Casey at the Bat


I’ve recited the poem at 10 All-Star Fanfests, and for many student groups at local schools. It’s a joy to share this ancient baseball text with kids, and to see it come alive in their eyes. Casey at the Bat has been beloved by five or six generations of baseball fans, and I’ve been proud to play a small part in that. As long as there is baseball, I think this poem will continue to capture the essence of the game — the drama, the hope and the failure — not just the strikeout by our hero, Casey, but the implicit next game and next at-bat, tomorrow, for this most hopeful of games.

— Tim Wiles, director of research, National Baseball Hall of Fame

Casey at the Bat

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,

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