“The Man Who Fanned Casey,” by T.M. FowlerPosted: August 12, 2014
Now here’s a great twist on Casey At the Bat, written from the point-of-view of a fan with a focus on the pitcher. There are, after all, two teams on the field, and the opposition has a perspective that is just as fascinating. Published in 1907, “The Man Who Fanned Casey” first appeared in the Waterloo (Iowa) Daily Courier, written by T.M. Fowler.
I’m just an ordinary fan, and I don’t count for much,
But I’m for writing history with a true and honest touch.
It isn’t often that I knock – I’ll put you next to that –
But I must interpose a word on Casey at the Bat.
Oh, yes, I must admit it; the poem is a beaut.
Been runnin’ through my thinker since our team got the chute.
I heard an actor fan recite it thirteen years ago;
He sort of introduced it in the progress of the show.
It made a hit from gallery, down to the parquet floor;
But now I’ve got to thinking, and that poem makes me sore.
I’d like to know why any fan should be so off his nut
About the Mighty Casey who proved himself a mutt.
The score, we’re told, stood four to two, one inning left to play.
The Frogtown twirler thought he had things pretty much his way,
So in the ninth, with two men down, he loosened up a bit;
And Flynn scratched out a single, Blake let loose a two-base hit.
Then from the stand and bleachers there arose a mighty roar.
They wanted just that little hit they knew would tie the score.
And there at the bat was Casey, Mighty Casey, Mudville’s pride;
But was the Frogtown slabster sent balloonin’, terrified?
Now in the ninth, with two men down and Casey at the bat,
Most pitchers would have let him walk – we all are sure of that.
But Hagen was a hero, he was made of sterner stuff;
It’s his kind who gets the medals and the long newspaper puff.
He knew the time had come for him to play a winning role.
He heard the fans a-yelling; it was music to his soul.
He saw the gleam of confidence in Mighty Casey’s eye.
“I’ll strike him out!” Hagen resolved. “I’ll do it or I’ll die!”
He stood alone and friendless in that wild and frenzied throng.
There wasn’t even one kind word to boost his game along.
But back in Frogtown where they got the plays by special wire
The fans stood ready, if he won, to set the town on fire.
Now Hagen twirls his body on the truest corkscrew plan
And hurls a swift inshoot that cuts the corner of the pan.
But Casey thought the first ball pitched would surely be a ball,
And didn’t try to strike it, to the great disgust of all.
Again the Frogtown twirler figures dope on Mudville’s pride;
And Casey things the next will be an outshoot breaking wide.
But Hagen shot a straight one down the middle of the plate,
And Casey waited for a curve until it was too late.
A now the mighty slugger is a-hangin’ on the string.
If another good one comes along, it’s up to him to swing.
The jaunty smile, Hagen observed, has faded from his face,
And a look of straining agony is there to takes its place.
One moment Hagen pauses, hides the ball behind his glove,
And then he drives it from him with a sweeping long arm shove.
And now the air is shattered, and the ball’s in the catcher’s mitt,
For Casey, Might Casey, hadn’t figured on the spit!