|Joe Posnanski||May 31, 2014|
The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day The score stood four to two with but one inning left to play The visitors brought in Glen Perkins, a lefty with some heat He struck out the first two batters and the save was near complete
A straggling many got up to go in deep despair. The rest Looked at their phones to get the scores from the games out West. Some thought, if only Casey could get a chance to gleam These were fans with Mighty Casey on their fantasy team
But Duda preceded Casey as did also Eric Young The former hacked at pitches and the latter barely swung The sportswriters, their stories done, sat waiting, their arms crossed Even with Casey in the hole, the game seemed all but lost
But Duda blooped a single barely over the shortstop’s head Young’s ground ball that seemed an out was thrown away instead When the dust had lifted, and replay had its final word Young stood safe on second with Duda huggin’ third.
Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell The rest were fighting traffic in the parking lot from hell Two men on, two men out, and everyone was hopin’ Mighty Casey stepped to the bat. But with first base open
There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place On the speakers, his walkup music, Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. The manager went to the mound to have a little chat No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes locked on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt. Then he stepped out, stepped back in, picked something off his shirt Adjusted his glove, kicked the ground, took a swing, asked for time Stepped back out, stepped back in, looking like a mime
Only then was Casey ready to do the baseball harm Behind him, the catcher stood and held out his long right arm The writhing pitcher tossed a pitch that floated way outside “What the bleep?” the fans yelled; “Ball one,” the umpire cried.
Oh the crowd did boo, and they did shout, “This is a disgrace.” “Doesn’t he even know that puts the winning run on base?” But without another thought, the catcher extended his arm again One pitcher threw another ball, one warmed up in the pen
Home announcers praised the move from high above the stands They said it’s smart to take the game right out of Casey’s hands They didn’t seem to care about one stat writ in the scriptures Casey was hitting .189 against left-handed pitchers
Easy ball three, easy ball four, yes, this is baseball fever. The manager walked to the mound and called for a reliever The Mudville skipper topped this move, pinch-hitting for his pinch-hitter And several hundred more Mudville fans left to pay the babysitter
A wild pitch followed a walk, and then the game was tied It went to extra innings, more people went outside Mighty Casey was due in the 12th but there had been a blunder The Mudville skipper, smart man he, pulled him for a pinch runner
Oh somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright Bruce Springsteen’s playing somewhere, and villains are contrite Sandlerless movies are being made, and people see old friends But there is no joy in Mudville for the game that never ends