Having just reviewed Dumbo at Bat, this seems like a good time to look at the poem that book’s title refers to: “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.
“Casey at the Bat” is a lovely little poem, telling the story of a baseball game that wasn’t going well for Mudville–down two points in the final inning, with two strikes, and their star batter, Casey, behind Flynn and Blake in the lineup, who aren’t expected to succeed.
Then, miracle of miracles, Flynn and Blake both hit the balls and get on base! A good hit from Casey might win them the game. Casey, arrogant, lets the first two pitches by, and then prepares to hit the third pitch, but…
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.
This one’s great, and it’s been adapted and parodied more times than I can count. Thayer originally published it in the June 3, 1888 edition of The San Francisco Examiner, under the pseudonym “Phin.”
A quick search of Amazon reveals a very impressive looking recent edition, with illustrations by Christopher Bing.
This is a poem everyone should be familiar with. I suggest that anyone who doesn’t know it go and read it, immediately.