Casey at the Bat Revives in Sugar Land

Deacon Jones, Late of the Mudville Nine, Now of the Sugar Land Skeeters.

Casey at the Batby Ernest Lawrence Thayer ©
Published: The Examiner (06-03-1888)

The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly 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 thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
We’d put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
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 Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, 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 Jimmy safe at second and Flynn 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 Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

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

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

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

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’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 Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

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

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his 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 Casey’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 Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.


Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer ©

Thanks to Baseball Almanac.Com for this beautiful depiction of the famous Ernest Lawrence Thayer poem. “Casey at the Bat” was first published on June 3, 1888 in the San Francisco Examiner and went on from there to become the spinal rhyming spirit of all fans who have ever closely , and with great emotional attachment, followed the great American sport of baseball.

In baseball today, no one depicts the heart and spirit of the game any greater than the great Grover “Deacon” Jones of the Sugar Land Skeeters. The Skeeters begin their first season of independent league ball tomorrow night, April 26, 2012, before a home sell out crowd against the York (PA) Revolution behind former Houston Astro big leaguer and first Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti.

Watch the Chronicle and Internet for further details on upcoming games and come see the Skeeters for yourself as you are able. And look for old Deacon Jones walking around while you’re there at the Sugar Land ballpark. He’ll be the only one walking around the concourse with a bat in his hands. If the bat isn’t in his hands when you spot him, rest assured, it’s on his mind. Good hitting and genuine smiles are both a happy kind of habit thing with the good Deacon.

The world needs more people like him. Running into Deacon Jones unexpectedly is like all-of-a-sudden watching the sunburst breaking through the sky on an otherwise long and overcast charcoal cloudy day. I think the Good Lord puts sparks like the Deacon on this earth to keep the rest of us moving toward the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and touches of hope for something better. Always moving steady toward the truly good. And always reaching openly for the things that rest deep in the heart of soul.

Thank you, Deacon Jones, for being with us here in Houston and for becoming such a big part of the new Sugar Land Skeeters baseball club. We shall see you at the ballpark.

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2 Responses to “Casey at the Bat Revives in Sugar Land”

  1. Tal Smith Says:

    Nice tribute to a baseball treasure and a great guy.

  2. Marsha Franty Says:

    I agree with Tal! Deacon represents so much of what we respect about the game.

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