Baseball In The Eye of the McCroskey Beholder

The Great 15th Century Fireplace The Hearts Castle, San Simeon, CA Photo by Mike McCroskey

The Great 16th Century Fireplace
The William Randolph Hearst Castle,
San Simeon, CA
Photo by Mike McCroskey


Mike McCroskey

Mike McCroskey

Art isn’t the only condition of appreciated beauty that is always first found in the eye of the beholder. As avid baseball fan Mike McCroskey illustrates in this communication in words and pictures to the Pecan Park Eagle, the beauty of our great national pastime may sometimes work that way too from what we perceive in works of art from either history or foreign cultures. Sometimes, all it takes is for us to see some figure in a sculpture holding something that appears to be a baseball bat in his hand.

Here’s how Mike McCroskey explained his experience after touring the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California on March 15, 2016:

“Last Tuesday, the 15th, I visited the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. The first room we entered was the main hall of the main house. There was a fireplace whose hearth was imported from Europe and purported to be made sometime in the 1500’s.  I could not help but notice that each of the 2 men had what appeared to be a bat. I took these pictures especially for our SABR group (in Houston) as maybe the game of baseball is much older than we have previously thought.  If the these are indeed really vintage, vintage baseball players, I couldn’t help but notice they had something else in common with our Houston Babies:  Looks like they, also, had trouble raising money for uniforms!”

~Mike McCroskey, 3/23/2016.


Close Up Perception 16th Century Baseball ~ Photo and Delusion by Mike McCroskey

Close Up Perception of 16th Century Vintage Baseball Game
~ Photo and Delusion ~ An Unassisted Double Play by Mike McCroskey


No problem here, Mr. McCroskey. On our family trip to Rome in 2010, the same thing happened to me, big time. The following picture I took later directed me to write a parody on “Casey at the Bat,” once we got home. I’ve written a column on this “Hearst-Castle-Like” personal experience in the distant past, but it will be repeated here for the sake of our bonding in this “doesn’t happen to everybody” associative transference trip into absurdity.


Casey at the Bat Parody Based on Roman  Statue in Rome, Italy Asa Parody on "Casey at the Bat" September 2010 By Bill McCurdy

Casey at the Bat Parody
Based Upon on a Roman Statue in Rome, Italy
As a Parody on “Casey at the Bat”
September 2010 ~ By Bill McCurdy


Roman Caesar at the Bat

By Bill McCurdy

The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Roman nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Brutus died at first, and Seneca did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go, entrapped in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Caesar could get but a whack at that –
We’d put up Roman numerals now, with Caesar at the bat.

But Nero preceded Caesar, as did also Julius VIII,
And the former was a fiddler and the latter was his date;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Caesar’s getting to the bat.

But Titus let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Caligula, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was “Cali” safe at second and fleet Titus a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the streets of Rome, it rang the senate bell;
It rattled the Coliseum and recoiled in nothing flat,
For Caesar, mighty Caesar, was advancing to the bat.

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

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

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Caesar stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Caesar. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, white with Romans, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a Roman-vanquished shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Caesar raised his hand.

With a smile of Saturn’s time gift great Caesar’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 Caesar still ignored it, and the umpire cried, “Et tu.”

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

The sneer is gone from Caesar’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel-eyed 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 Caesar’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 Rome today – mighty Caesar has struck out


eagle-0rangeBill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


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