CASEY AT THE BAT – Marilyn Armstrong

On the last day of trade-making, much to the shock and dismay of Red Sox fans, we didn’t make a single deal and we needed one or two bullpen guys.

How badly did we need a closer? Bad enough so that the moment we call up the bullpen, we just know — no matter how many runs ahead we may be, we know there’s a good chance we are somehow going to find a way to lose.

It’s not that we always lose. We don’t. We’ve got good hitters and our starters are sometimes great, sometimes not so great. But openers aren’t what they used to be. They almost never pitch a complete game. I can’t remember the last time a pitcher threw past the fifth or sixth inning.

Overused because there are too many teams and not against quality openers. And they are now literally openers, not aces. They throw a few of the opening innings, but then they get pulled and it’s all up to the bullpen.

The Yankees have a great bullpen — but a rather weak (and injured) group of starters. They didn’t make a deal either.

It’s not just about how much it cost to “buy” the pitcher. It’s what the trading team wants in exchange other than money. And whether or not your team is willing to give up those guys or prospects. It’s easy to just blame it on the General Manager or owners, but it’s complicated. As fans, we don’t know exactly what happened. Who we tried to get, what the teams wanted in exchange.

So, we’ve got what we’ve got. I think we should have hung onto at least one of our bullpen-closers from last season … but that’s done and over. We either get to the post-season with the team we have or not. We could do it, but I have a feeling we won’t. There are just too many things going wrong. Sale hasn’t been pitching consistently well. Sometimes he’s great and the rest of the time, not so great. David Price is good and sometimes fantastic … but when he leaves the game and the bullpen takes over, oy vay.

But that’s baseball, right?


Casey at the Bat

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

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 pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only Casey could but get 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 hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

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

Then from five thousand throats and more, there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on 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 lit 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 flashed 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 it’s likely they’d have 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 dun sphere 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 favoured 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.

23 thoughts on “CASEY AT THE BAT – Marilyn Armstrong

    • Beats us. We don’t even try to get the players we need. We didn’t make a single deal. Our bullpen was bad and it’s still bad. It’s not going to be a great year. Even if Casey is available, the Sox wouldn’t be interested.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn, I think I’ve calmed down and ‘accepted’ the reasoning given by Sox Suits, including the guy who signs those mega pay checks, Jon Henry. Henry essentially says, “I’m paying these guys ABOVE market salaries. If I spent anything more in players or cash, we’d be in the RED. That’s not good business.” Henry’s point: Sox – on paper – have an all star starting rotation, earning all star salaries (90 million this year alone — just for our starting 5 ‘aces’). Only ONE of the big 5, Eduardo Rodriguez is having a good year. He’s the youngest and earning less than the other celebrated starters. Chris Sale, the acknowledged “top gun” is having the WORST year of his career. No explanation for Sale’s mediocrity. He’s healthy and his arm allegedly is in good shape. It’s the execution of his pitches that’s baffling. Sale’s celebrated curve ball hangs flat over the middle of the plate, inviting hitters to mash the hell out of the ball. His fast ball still has ‘cheese’ but the cheese has lost its tang. Rick Porcello, last night on the heels of the trade deadline non activity, looked like a Bad News Bears starter. Everything looked like hamburger helper pitches. Porcello has thrown at least six consecutive stinkers. After being removed from the game, Porcello stormed into the dugout and smashed an expensive camera and recording unit — used to capture on field data. Porcello lated said, “..uh, I’m sorry. I was angry about the game”

        I think we’re gonna see the Sox play more inconsistent, mediocre ball for the rest of the year. They’ll be lots of tantrums in the dugout. Eck will offer his colorful takes on underachieving players who’ll blame Eck for spreading a “cancer” that is underminding the team’s passion. They’ll be lots of name calling. Blame smearing. The Pitching and hitting coaches will be fired. Fans will start wearing paper bag hats and booing the sons of Teddy Ballgame.
        Alec Cora will maintain his stoic, “Que Sera, Sera” mantra.
        At regular season’s end — no post season for this team, (or a wild card loss), Jon Henry will have a team meeting and end by saying, “Adios, bad hombres”.
        You could look it up.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Casey is now making cowboy movies as “Buck Jones, Jr.” He feels he’s in his prime as a cinema frontier hero. Casey also says, “Baseball gave me the best years of my life”.
      Is “Joey Bats” around?

      Like

      • LoL ! did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger made a Western? He was bad. But that never stopped him. He kept swinging.
        “Joey Bats”? Incredible how fast they disappear isn’t it? Cherish your moment in the sun, for that sun can set quickly – and stay down.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No, this self-proclaimed maven didn’t know Arnie made a western. I’m ashamed of my ignorance. Please tell me more about Arnie’s oater.
          Joey Bats: Mets threw him a life-line and he couldn’t hang on.
          The sun also rises…

          Like

          • I just happen to be doing a post on a supposed Western Comedy called The Villain with Arnie, Kirk Douglas, and Ann-Margret. Truly an odd Movie.
            As for Bats, the Net says he has 35 Million bucks. He’s 38.

            Like

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