By In Baseball


The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day
The score stood four to two with but one inning left to play
The visitors brought in Glen Perkins, a lefty with some heat
He struck out the first two batters and the save was near complete

A straggling many got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Looked at their phones to get the scores from the games out West.
Some thought, if only Casey could get a chance to gleam
These were fans with Mighty Casey on their fantasy team

But Duda preceded Casey as did also Eric Young
The former hacked at pitches and the latter barely swung
The sportswriters, their stories done, sat waiting, their arms crossed
Even with Casey in the hole, the game seemed all but lost

But Duda blooped a single barely over the shortstop’s head
Young’s ground ball that seemed an out was thrown away instead
When the dust had lifted, and replay had its final word
Young stood safe on second with Duda huggin’ third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell
The rest were fighting traffic in the parking lot from hell
Two men on, two men out, and everyone was hopin’
Mighty Casey stepped to the bat. But with first base open

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place
On the speakers, his walkup music, Lady Gaga’s Poker Face.
The manager went to the mound to have a little chat
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes locked on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
Then he stepped out, stepped back in, picked something off his shirt
Adjusted his glove, kicked the ground, took a swing, asked for time
Stepped back out, stepped back in, looking like a mime

Only then was Casey ready to do the baseball harm
Behind him, the catcher stood and held out his long right arm
The writhing pitcher tossed a pitch that floated way outside
“What the bleep?” the fans yelled; “Ball one,” the umpire cried.

Oh the crowd did boo, and they did shout, “This is a disgrace.”
“Doesn’t he even know that puts the winning run on base?”
But without another thought, the catcher extended his arm again
One pitcher threw another ball, one warmed up in the pen

Home announcers praised the move from high above the stands
They said it’s smart to take the game right out of Casey’s hands
They didn’t seem to care about one stat writ in the scriptures
Casey was hitting .189 against left-handed pitchers

Easy ball three, easy ball four, yes, this is baseball fever.
The manager walked to the mound and called for a reliever
The Mudville skipper topped this move, pinch-hitting for his pinch-hitter
And several hundred more Mudville fans left to pay the babysitter

A wild pitch followed a walk, and then the game was tied
It went to extra innings, more people went outside
Mighty Casey was due in the 12th but there had been a blunder
The Mudville skipper, smart man he, pulled him for a pinch runner

Oh somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright
Bruce Springsteen’s playing somewhere, and villains are contrite
Sandlerless movies are being made, and people see old friends
But there is no joy in Mudville for the game that never ends

18 Responses to Mighty

  1. Jake Bucsko says:

    This. Is. Fantastic.

    • Jesse says:

      This reminds me very much of your recent batting average post. To me, batting average can matter considerably–BUT–only in reference to other statistics. Take a look at Jason Giambi, 2002: .314/.435/.598, 41 HR. 2003: .250/.412/.527, 41 HR. Here we have a significant dropoff in batting average, but we still have a very productive 1B/DH type. But with a player whose productivity is almost entirely based on base hits, a drop in average is much more significant: Take Ichiro: 2009: .352/.386/.465, 11 HR, 2011: .271/.310/.335, 5 HR. I realize I have measured Ichiro’s decline over two years and not one, but look at it this way: Giambi, age 37: .247/.373/.502, 32 HR, Ichiro, age 37: .272/.310/.335, 5 HR. Batting average seems to be a good measure of a player’s ability within context, but a bad indicator of his durability.In short, I think batting average should be considered only as measured against other statistics.

      • Jake Bucsko says:

        Sorry, I didn’t see this until just now. Hopefully you’ll see this.

        You make a good point, but Ichiro’s value was never just in his batting average, he was a brilliant all around player. In the first 10 years of his career, Ichiro averaged 26 doubles, 7 triples, 9 HRs, 38 steals, and 291 total bases. He had a .331 BA, and an OBP of somewhere around .376. In the 2011 season you mentioned where the wheels fell off, he had 22 doubles, 3 triples, 5 HRs, 40 steals, 227 total bases, and the .271/.310 slash line you mentioned.

        So yes, his batting average was down, but his stats tanked across the board. He also averaged 5.5 WAR over those first 10 yrs, with just 0.6 in 2011.

        As for Giambi and the 02/03 discrepancy you mention, it wasn’t just his BA that fell, again. His walks went up, which kept his OBP high, but he also had 23 fewer runs scored, 42 fewer hits, 10 fewer XBH, his OPS went down almost 100 points, he had 53 fewer total bases, and his WAR went down from 7.2 to 4.8.

        I don’t think anybody ever says that batting average is useless, except for wackos. The same kind of wackos who think that all advanced stats are useless. I think the only thing anyone is trying to say is that OBP is much more indicative of your offensive skill than BA.

  2. Wow. Best sportswriter in America.

  3. Billy Bob says:

    Satire is so powerful.. Brilliant, Joe!

  4. Dave says:

    I guess this means that none of the pitchers will ever get a win…ahem…

  5. I like it a lot! I’m incredibly tempted to grab a red pen and clean up the meter in some places — a little tinkering would do wonders for the rhythm.

    If we want to get all technical and snooty, the original is in heptameter, or seven iambic feet per line. Shakespeare, for comparison, used iambic pentameter with five iambic feet per line.

    I only feel the need to mention it because if it squeezed itself into the same tight flow of the original, it would be (as Joe might say)d a million shmillion times better.

  6. Carl says:

    I’ve been to Citi, I mean Mudville Stadium. It is the parking lot from Hell.

  7. As Casey watched ball four sail by and took his walk to first
    he knew his OBP went up, and he’d be reimbursed
    with twenty mil at contract time, and walks would be the reason.
    “He never makes an out!” they say. “He hasn’t swung all season!”
    The Mudville Nine have never won, he’s never once come through
    but Casey’s VORP is off the charts, his WAR is 10.2.
    He snipes with all his teammates, he feuds with all the press,
    been busted twice for steroids, been placed on house arrest.
    “But stats say he’s the greatest!” the experts will insist.
    So Casey, mighty Casey, tops Posnanski’s list.

  8. MikeN says:

    Anyone else partway through read it as saying “Miguel Cabrera”?

  9. Brett Alan says:

    In addition to the other issues with last night’s game, it made me think that you need a Sacrifice Bunt Rage Scale to go with the Intentional Walk version.

    Juan Lagares came up in the ninth and immediately squared to bunt, not even waiting for a windup to let the defense wonder. Now, I’m enough of a stat guy to be unhappy with that–the guy’s got a .335 OBP, for cryin’ out loud–but it was the ninth inning of a tie game, so it was at least somewhat defensible. Then the count went to 2-0…and Lagares was STILL showing bunt all the way! I mean, isn’t his chance of getting on base likely to go up substantially with that count? The guy’s hitting well, on a team that’s not great offensively–how can you pass up that good hitter’s count? So my contribution is, if you keep bunting on a count like that (at least with a non-pitcher), that’s gotta be about +4 on the SBRS.

  10. Donald A. Coffin says:

    Brilliant…except no manager has a deep enough bench these days to burn two pinch-hitters and a pinch-runner in one swoop…

  11. jim louis says:

    Great post Joe. A couple nitpicks:

    You say, “Sandlerless movies are being made…”.

    Why throw Sandler under the bus?! Most of his movies aren’t my cup of tea. But he’s just a nice guy trying to entertain people with simple, silly, sometimes juvenile humor. I find his movies to have a good heart.

    “Michael Bay-less films” would have fit the cadence. Are there movies more soul-crushing? Or how about”non-sequel movies”? How many Spidermans do we need?

    And instead of saying “Bruce Springsteen is playing somewhere”, I’d have said “Jack White is playing somewhere”.

    • Anon21 says:

      These are not so much nitpicks as differences of taste. Kind of boring differences, at that.

    • MikeN says:

      >How many Spidermans do we need?

      One ever 4-5 years, if Sony wants to keep the rights from going back to Marvel.
      Same with X-Men, and Fantastic Four.

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