Friday, July 24, 2009

Scotty at the Bat

Scotty at the Bat

The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the GBurg Times that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when SteamTown died at first, and John M. did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the sheet.

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 Scotty could get but a whack at that -
We'd put up even money, now, with Scotty at the bat.

But Hayes preceded Scotty, as did also Freddy S.,
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 Scotty's getting to the bat.

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

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Scotty, mighty Scotty, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Scotty's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Scotty's bearing and a smile on Scotty's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Scotty at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes read him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he swore to get big John.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Scotty's eye, a sneer curled Scotty's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Scotty stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said Scotty. "Strike one," the GAO 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 GAO!" shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they'd a-killed him had not Scotty raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Scotty's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Scotty still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Scotty and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Scotty wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Scotty's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the park.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Scotty's 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 somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Gburg - mighty Scotty has struck out.


[With apologies to "Phin" who wrote Casey at the Bat -- Ernest Lawrence Thayer, Published: The San Francisco Examiner, June 3, 1888]

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