Casey, Tiger and Two New Seasons

A while ago I wrote a parody on the poem “Casey at the Bat” by Earnest Thayer called “Tiger on the Mat.” When I wrote the poem I naively believed that everyone knew the original, but sadly I was wrong. Now with baseball season beginning and Tiger returning, I thought I would give golf/baseball fans another chance to read (better yet recite) one of the greatest sports poems ever written.  In addition, I found a poem by Gantland Rice written in response to a fan who had never heard of the Casey poem. Rice whose golf poems have appeared several times in my Blog, gives you an idea of how engaging sports poetry can be in his response to the “cove who never heard of “Casey at the Bat.”

So, given this momentous week, Go Red Sox, and yes, Go Tiger.  I hope they both look better this November than last.

He Never Heard of Casey!by Grantland Rice ©
Published: New York Herald Tribune (06-01-1926)
I knew a cove who’d never heard of Washington and Lee,
Of Caesar and Napoleon from the ancient jamboree,
But, bli’me, there are queerer things than anything like that,
For here’s a cove who never heard of “Casey at the Bat”!

He never heard of Mudville and its wild and eerie call,
“When Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,”
For the stormy roar of welcome that “recoiled upon the flat
As Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.”

“There was easy in Casey’s manner,” from the Ernest Thayer style,
“There was pride in Casey’s bearing,” and his tanned face wore a smile,
And when they thundered “Attaboy!” of course he tipped his hat,
But here’s a cove who never heard of “Casey at the Bat”!

“Who is Casey?” Can you beat it? Can a thing like this be true?
Is there one who’s missed the drama that ripped Mudville through and through?
Is there a fan with soul so dead he never felt the sway
Of these famous lines by Thayer in the good old Thayer way?

“Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded as 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.”

The drama grew in force and flame, and Berserk went the mob,
With Casey representing more than Hornsby, Ruth, or Cobb;
And as the pitcher cut one loose as if fired from a gat –
Say, here’s a guy who never heard of “Casey at the Bat!”

“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 as the pitcher shot one through to meet the final test
There’s one low and benighted fan who never heard the rest.

Ten million never heard of Keats, or Shelley, Burns, or Poe;
But they know “the air was shattered by the force of Casey’s blow”;
They never heard of Shakespeare, nor of Dickens, like as not,
But they know the somber drama from old Mudville’s haunted lot.

He never heard of Casey! Am I dreaming? Is it true?
Is fame but wind-blown ashes when the summer day is through?
Does greatness fade so quickly and is grandeur doomed to die
That bloomed in early morning, ere the dusk rides down the sky?

Is there nothing left immortal in this somber vale called Earth?
Is there nothing that’s enduring in its guarding shell of worth?
Is everything forgotten as the new age stumbles on
And the things that we once cherished make their way to helengon?

Is drifting life but dust and dreams to fade within a flash,
Where one forgets the drama of the Master and the Ash?
Where one has missed the saga with its misty flow of tears,
Upon that day of tragedy beyond the trampling years?

“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!”

Rise, De Wolf Hopper, in your wrath, and cut the blighter down!
Although Wang may be forgotten in the passing of renown,
There’s a grave crime committed which should take you to the mat,
For here’s a cove who never heard of “Casey at the Bat”!

I had an epic written which I thought would never die,
Where they’d build a statue for me with its head against the sky;
I said “This will live forever” – but I’ve canned it in the vat,
For here’s a guy who never heard of “Casey at the Bat”!

He Never Heard of Casey! by Grantland Rice ©


  1. Love it!! Very creative!
    John Tank
    Ogio Stand Bag

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