The author clearly had some fun writing this piece. In it, you’ll find all kinds of allusions to both history and pop culture. It was first published in the Baseball Almanac in 2006.
Twas the night before Spring Training, when all through the clubhouse
Not a creature was stirring, except the managers.
The uniforms were hung in the lockers with care,
In hopes that the season soon would be there.
The rookies were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of the Big League danced in their heads.
And Nuke in his garter, and Crash in his cap,
Had just been rewound before the players’ nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Cy Young was the pitcher, and Babe Ruth was the batter.
Away to the window the players all flew,
To see the ghosts on the evening dew.
Shoeless Joe was in left on that moonlit night,
Who was on second, oh wait, that’s not right.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
Mighty Casey with a bat drawing near.
“Now Mickey! now, Willie! Now, Hammerin’ Hank!
On, Harmon! On, Reggie! on, Maris and Frank!
To the top of the leader boards! to the top of the Hall!
Show the young rookies how to play ball!”
They all admire the slugger named Roy
As he steps to the plate with his bat, Wonderboy.
They’ll pass him on the street, a tip of the hat they will give,
‘There goes the greatest player that ever lived.”
The rookies’ eyes will twinkle in their first at-bat.
The veterans will calm them and give them a pat.
For it is only spring training with so much to do,
Preparation for a season, a career to pursue.
The young ones will play their best through the spring,
With hopes of making the 40-man team.
They’ll play their careers ’til they finally say,
“Tell them I’m through for love of the game.”