Friday, October 20, 2006

Carlos at the Bat [J. Mark English]

Carlos at the Bat

Play on Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the New York Mets nine that day,
The score stood three to one, with but one inning more to play.

And then when Floyd died at first, and Reyes 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 that hope which springs eternal in the human breast.
They though, "if only Carlos could but get a whack at that.
We'd put up even money now, with Carlos at the bat."

But Floyd preceded Carlos, as did also Jose Reyes;
and the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake.

So upon that stricken multitude, grim melancholy sat;
for there seemed but little chance of Carlos getting to the bat.

But Valentine let drive a single, to the wonderment of all.
And Lo Duca, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball.

And when the dust had lifted,
and men saw what had occured,
there was Endy safe at second and Valentine a-hugging third.

Then from fifty five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
it rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;

it pounded through on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat;
for Carlos, mighty Carlos, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Carlos' manner as he stepped into his palce,
there was pride in Carlos' bearing and a smile lit Carlos' face.

And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
no stranger in the crowd could doubt t'was Carlos at the bat.

Millions of eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
One hundred thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.

Then, while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
defiance flashed in Carlos' eye, a sneer curled Carlos' lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
and Carlos stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.

Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped --
"That ain't my style," said Carlos.

"Strike one!" the umpire said.
From the benches, blue and orange 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 someone on the stand,
and it's like they'd ahve killed him had not Carlos raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity, great Carlos' visage shone,
he stilled the rising tumult, he bade the game go on.

He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew,
but Carlos' still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two!"

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Carlos and the audience was awed.

They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
and they knew that Carlos wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer has fled from Carlos' lip, the teeth are clenched in hate.
He pounds, 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 Carlos' 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 little children shout,

but there is no joy in Flushing --
mighty Carlos has struck out.