Tuesday, March 27

Casey Back At Bat

by Dan Gutman
paintings by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher
HarperCollins 2007


















In days of old Ernest Thayer told
Of Casey at the Bat,
How the Mudville team pinned their winning dreams
On a player whose efforts fell flat.

Now Gutman stands to try his hand
And picks up ol' Mudville's tale.
But on page one, line three, as you can see
Is where I say poor Gutman fails.

I'm sure you've heard of Casey, the baseball world sensation,
whose famous strikeout lost a game and stunned a hopeful nation.
Well, if you think that tale was sad, sit down, let's have a chat,
and I'll tell you a story I call Casey Back at Bat
The problem here I think is clear:
We know how it all turns out.
Mighty Casey swings, the ball takes wing,
The game ends in a rout.

Where Dan Gutman missed is all in the twist
(Though some might call it mirth):
With Casey on deck, the baseball connects
and sails... around the Earth?

But, no, that's not all! This hurling ball
Speeds through both time and space.
And in repose, the Sphinx's own nose
Is knocked right off of it's face.

Astronauts it has seen, Pisa tower leans,
Scared dinos make themselves disappear.
We've forgotten just why this amazing pop fly
Orbits this terrestrial sphere.

Finally Casey and crew 'round the diamond they flew
As the story returns to the game,
While the ball in the sky that's in everyone's eye
Is now caught, so the ending's the same.

Where Thayer once hit with poetical grit
His love of the game showed no doubt;
Similar joy can't be found in this critical ground--
Mighty Gutman has struck out

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