Carlos at the Bat

Carlos at the Bat

The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Astros nine that day:
 The team sat next to Pittsburgh, with but two months left to play. 
And then when Michael died at first, and Hunter did the same, a sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep and dark despair. The rest clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
 they thought, if only Carlos could get but a whack at that – we’d put up even money, now, with Carlos at the bat.

But  Lance preceded Carlos, as did the new guy, Chris, and the former mimed Mendoza and the rookie just might miss. 
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat, for there seemed but little chance of Carlos getting to the bat.

But Lance let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
 and Johnson, the surprise-one, tore the cover off the ball;
 and when the dust had lifted, and the fans saw what occurred,
 there was Johnson safe at second and old Berkman hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell; it rumbled through the downtown streets, it rattled Michael Dell; it knocked upon the Crawford Box and recoiled El Caballo, for Carlos, mighty Carlos, was advancing near the bayou.

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

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
 ten thousand thumbs all tweeted when he wiped them on his shirt.
 Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
 defiance gleamed 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.
 “No mas por favor,” said Carlos. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the grandstands, sparse of people, there rose up a tinny roar, like the beating of the human-wave on a bored, pathetic shore. “Pinch him! Pinch the umpire!” shouted an oddball in the stands;
 and its likely he’d a-pinched 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 spheroid flew; but Carlos gave no “si si,” and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened hundreds, and the echo whispered fraud; but one carefree look from Carlos and the audience was awed.
 They saw his face grow flat and cold, they saw his muscles sag, and they knew that Carlos would not drop his bat, a bunt to merely drag.

The fire is gone from Carlos’ lips, his jaw is falling slack; he pounds his bat with nonchalance, as if a fly to smack. And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go. And now the air is gently stirred 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 fans are laughing, and somewhere children shout; but there is no joy in Houston – El Caballo has struck out.

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2 Responses to “Carlos at the Bat”

  1. David Munger Says:

    El Burro as the season lags on.

  2. MikemCCroskey Says:

    Pretty much sums up the year, doesn’t it?

    Mike

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