Mookie at the Bat
As we approach the 2017 World Series, here’s a reminder for Met fans that we did win it all just over 30 years ago in 1986.
(With acknowledgments to Ernest Lawrence Thayer who wrote “Casey at the Bat” in 1888)
Mookie at the Bat
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Metropolitans that day;
The score stood five to three, with but one inning more to play;
So when Backman hit a can of corn, and Hernandez 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 the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Mookie could but get a whack, at that,
They’d put up even money now, with Mookie at the bat.
But Carter preceded Mookie, as did Mitchell, as did Knight,
And the three of them were struggling; they couldn’t get it right;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Mookie’s getting to the bat.
But the Kid let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And the Rookie, Kevin Mitchell, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and they saw what had traversed,
There was Gary safe on second, and Mitch a-hugging first.
Then from the gladdened multitude went up a joyous yell
When Knight singled over second, and Mac went to the well;
The Bosox brought in Stanley, as Schiraldi hung his hat;
And Mookie, mighty Mookie, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Mookie’s manner as he stepped into his place,
There was pride in Mookie’s bearing, and a smile on Mookie’s face;
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Mookie at the bat.
A hundred thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt,
Fifty thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while the writhing Stanley ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Mookie’s eye; a sneer curled Mookie’s lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Mookie flashed his bat, and the audience did stare;
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball untouched had sped.
“That ain’t my style,” said Mookie. “Strike one,” the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Kill him! Kill the pitcher!” shouted someone on the stand.
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Mookie raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Mookie’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 Mookie swung and missed again, and the umpire said “Strike two.”
“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and the echo answered, “Fraud!”
But a scornful look from Mookie, and the audience was awed;
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that mighty Mookie wouldn’t swing and miss again.
The sneer is gone from Mookie’s lips, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And now the Steamer holds the ball, and now he lets it ride,
But Gedman, he can’t catch it, the pitch is way inside.
The score is tied at five apiece, and Knight’s at second base,
And Mookie’s up there battling with a smile upon his face;
The pitch comes in, he tops the ball, he’s on his way to first;
Billy Bucks sees Mookie coming, and Boston’s bubble burst.
As Mookie raced on down the line, and Buckner stumbled in,
Ray Knight flew on across to third, hoping the Mets could win;
The play at first would be climactic, Mookie’s eyes were on the ground,
But befuddled Billy Buckner’s weren’t. The winning run raced round.
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 play,
But there is no joy in Beantown — mighty Mookie saved the day!