Friday, October 14, 2011

No Kickball In Mudville

Hubris, Unhealthy Expectations, or the Ball is Too Small: 
     A Scientific Analysis of Ernest Thayer's Casey at the Bat.

Acknowledgment: Up to four scientists were harmed in the writing of this blog. Ironically, no science was used or even considered throughout the process, unless you count Biology (if that's even a real thing), because I was breathing and alive throughout the writing process. Six in one, half dozen in the other is a phrase I have heard my entire life and only recently understood: It has nothing to do with this story.

Everyone (besides starving kids in Africa, and probably anyone under the age of 14 because they're too busy smoking rock and playing video games) knows the story of Casey at the Bat. It's an old Egyptian baseball story of a hometown team putting all their baseball related hopes and dreams in the single basket of their superstar, a guy with a girl's name, Sandy Casey.

Afterward (a different sort of acknowledgement, as in I'm writing this after initial publication by about 40 minutes). Maybe not as many people know the story as I suspected, so check it out here or listen to it in James Earl Jones' rich baritone here or watch the cartoon here:  

Down 4-2 in the ninth with two outs, two scrappy players whom the writer refers to as a "lulu" and a "cake" (obviously some overt anti-homosexual context taking place in Massachusetts at the end of the 19th Century) each had to get a miracle hit to bring Casey up to bat. They manage to do so with a single by lulu and a ripping double by the cake. The people of Mudville are going apeshit at this point, because here comes Casey, portrayed in the cartoons as a huge dude with monster calves and an awkwardly curved spine, the savior of all that is Mudville.

The crowd goes wild. Casey let's strike one go by and basically says, "no thanks". The crowd threatens to literally fucking murder the umpire, they're so mad.

Casey stands and watches strike two as the crowd burns down a school full of children and attempts to start internationally known terrorist cells hell spent on murdering the umpire, all because of an F'n baseball game.

But then Casey gets serious and there is some talk about intensity and violence and the poem ends with:

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. 
                              (Thank you Wikipedia)

So that's the back-story and let us begin with the end. Strike three and the loss of a baseball game literally puts Mudville into a standstill. No sun, no bands, light hearts, laughter, kids yelling, or most importantly joy. No Fucking joy because of the loss of a baseball game. What about the little kid who just got a puppy? What about the awkward teenager who most likely lost his virginity beneath the bleachers as Casey struck out? What about my cousin Joy who was always really happy and grew up in Mudville in the late 1880's? No joy just seems a little excessive.

Casey - an obviously fictional iconic figure who probably went home and slit his own wrists if he even made it out of the parking lot. He definitely wouldn't have if this was the story of Carlos the heroic South American Soccer player who missed the last penalty kick and lost the world cup and was instantly torn to shreds by the bare hands of the crowd.

But back to Casey, he was obviously a douche. He let two perfectly good pitches go by and just brushed them off, despite the fact that his team was down by two runs, there were two outs, and he was being paid to swing at the fucking ball. He let them go, he lost the game, and I sort of hope his wife left him and he is the dead body the boys from Stand By Me found by the railroad tracks.

The Crowd - What dicks! They obviously take baseball pretty seriously there in Mudville. 5000 people came out to see the game. 5000 Assholes. Making fun of two gay dudes who actually did their job well (they couldn't find joy in the fact that two shitty players came through in a clutch situation). They expected one dude, whom they obviously built up enough that he thought he was a swingin big dick and didn't need to swing at two perfect pitches, to come through and save the day. Well that's what you get Mudville. That's what you get when you treat people badly and have unreal/unfair/unAmerican/undressed/unreasonable/unty expectations of someone and put too much thought and time into a silly game by writing long winded, pointless, partially underdeveloped blogs poems.

Casey at the Bat was meant to teach us that when you're too cocky you let people down, which can be true. It has taught us so much more though and they're all lessons about  not being a dick. So stop it. Stop being a dick if you are currently or have recently been a dick. Dicks.

Fun things that happened in my life recently:

Brian "Brian" being really good at kickball, making awesome catches, kicking really well and helping everyone else make Phil look bad.

Katie molesting (only partially sexually) three dudes while playing first base and diving for a third out to make a perfectly Katie inning.

All the girls I know (who played kickball with me last night) stepping up, being awesome, and being completely let down by the dudes. Shelley scored her first run, Jenna was stranded on second, Amelia sneezed and no one said Bless you.

Ashley (2) "Cooperpooper" hating her nickname and threatening intense violence on everyone. 

New Marshall Street mortal enemies in the vain of Big P's and Double D's, the Marshall sponsored team we met last night and will be destroying in the first round of playoffs next Thursday. They started out nice, became very Mudville like, and then left with their smug thumbs up their stupid faced asses. Dicks.

Singing happy birthday to an opponent as a team was very nice and fun of us and I think we can all agree that when people meet me us, they want to quit their team and become Kick James.

Too bad, because I'm Kick James and my roster is full... of awesome!

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