Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PEE WEE AT THE BAT

With apologies to Ernest Thayer, author of that
great American classic, "Casey at the Bat."
No apologies, however, to Casey...

It looked extremely rocky for the Mudville kids that day,
The score: 18 to 20 with one inning left to play,
And so when Tommy died at first, and Joey did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the parents at the game.

They said, “If only Butch were here, or Petey, in that box.”
But Butch and Petey, hitters both, were home with chicken pox,
But Billy bunted safely and Ricky’s bat exploded,
Johnny got a walk, and they had the bases loaded!

Then from the gladdened multitude arose an anguished groan,
Some parents laughed or snickered and some were heard to moan,
Some offered false encouragement, the rest morosely sat,
For Pee Wee, little Pee Wee, was advancing to the bat.

There was doubt in Pee Wee’s manner as he walked up to the box,
A hitch in Pee Wee’s gait as he tripped upon his sox,
And when, responding to the jeers, he turned and lost his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt t’was Pee Wee at the bat.

Two hundred eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands in dirt,
And 50 mothers groaned as he wiped them on his shirt.
And while the stern-faced pitcher rubbed the ball against his hip,
Confusion shone in Pee Wee’s eye, a tremor touched his lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Pee Wee stood and watched it with an indecisive stare.
Right by the pint-sized batsman the ball unheeded sped:
“Can’t reach that one,” said Pee Wee.  “Ball one!” the umpire said.

Once more the scowling pitcher made the leather spheroid hum,
But Pee Wee only stood there and chewed his bubble gum.
“Ball two!” the umpire stated.  The coach yelled, “Good eye, Son!”
“A walk’s a run,” the parents cheered (though they needed more than one).

All watched as Pee Wee wiped his nose and hitched his pants up high,
They saw the pitcher grip the ball and watched him let it fly,
They saw the ball speed toward the plate and thought a strike t’would be,
But Pee Wee’s size denied it and the umpire yelled:  “Ball three!”

The frenzied parents cheered their luck, so recently forsaken,
And Pee Wee gripped the bat and tried to keep his knees from shakin’.
And now the pitcher holds the ball and now he lets it go,
And Pee Wee swings and Pee Wee clouts that ball a mighty blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land there’s misery and gloom,
The rain is raining somewhere and thunder speaks of doom,
Oh, somewhere blues are sung because there’s tears and toil and trouble,
But there ain’t no blues in Mudville.  Little Pee Wee hit a double!
                                                                       
                                                                        Ellen Griffith
© 1968