by James Finn Garner
1B Lefty Herring
2B Rabbit Maranville
SS Oyster Burns
3B Joe Bean
LF Buttercup Dickerson
CF Milky Cabrera
RF Ice Box Chamberlain
C Yam Yaryan
LHP William Peppers, Chick Smith
RHP Sweetbread Bailey, Pete Hamm
MGR Rawmeat Rogers
With all the PED reports happening this year, it seems fitting to revisit a modern classic.
by Hart Seely
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that year.
The lineup had no hitting threats, the fans no cause to cheer.
So when Cooney tore his hamstring, and then Barrows broke his wrist,
The writers started calling for the brass to be dismissed.
The season stood in jeopardy, with one last hope in sight:
If only one great slugger could regain his former might.
One shot of horse testosterone, one jab in his caboose,
The team could get its mojo back with Casey on the juice!
But Flynn had tested positive, and also Jimmy Blake,
Their samples glowed with hormones like uranium yellowcake.
The infield faced suspension, the outfield in decay,
The team was dead unless some source came forth with antler spray.
But Flynn unleashed ten lawyers, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, with much persuasion, had his cousin take the fall;
And with the last indictment quashed, a miracle occurred,
The Mudville nine remained within one game of placing third.
Within the team’s top management, there rose a whispered din;
“We need to find a slugger who can drive some runners in.
“A deep-voiced man with swollen breasts, his beard as thick as rope.
“We need to bring back Casey, with his bloodstream full of dope!”
He’d all but been forgotten, in the pennant race of late.
No team considered signing him; he’d last hit .208.
He couldn’t touch the breaking ball or move much to his right.
He’d shrunken by some 30 pounds; he looked like Betty White.
They found him in a halfway house for former alcoholics,
Where he’d been kicking Andriol and street-sale anabolics.
They offered him a contract that would run from day to day.
But his sample had to come back clean before they’d let him play.
There was ease in Casey’s manner, though he tried to be discreet.
The testers watched him carefully; they figured he would cheat.
The sample showed diuretics, high above the zone of red,
“That ain’t my urine,” said Casey. “Strike one!” the clinic said.
The pundits, amped on Ritalin, fumed fury at the game.
He’d never see another pitch, or make the Hall of Fame!
“Ban him! Ban the juicer!” came a fervent, shouted wail;
And its likely they’d a-done it, had not Casey looked so frail.
With a smile of Christian charity old Casey’s visage shone.
He chalked it off to linseed oil, not high testosterone.
He’d suffered from a restless leg, took pills to beat the flu,
But the next test showed growth hormone, and the lab coats roared, “Strike two!”
“Fraud!” cried the gin-fueled writers, and the bloggers echoed “Fraud!”
But Casey’s hired publicist pronounced the tests as flawed.
And now his face grew stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
They knew he’d never let himself score positive again.
The smile is gone from Casey’s lips, his eyes like burst balloons;
He’s downed ten quarts of seltzer, after eating fifty prunes.
His body is a furnace, his bladder surely stressed,
And now the world awaits the hard results of Casey’s test.
O, somewhere in this favored land the stars are shining bright;
The games are played by people of a normal weight and height.
And somewhere fans are laughing, at peace with what they’ve got;
But there is no joy in Mudville: Mighty Casey’s tested hot.
by Hilary Barta
With apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer
On the North side and the South side, the sun is shining bright;
“Go, Cubs, Go” and “Na na na na” are heard both day and night;
Both Yuppies and construction guys are given cause to shout;
Yes, there’s joy in two Chicagos — winning baseball’s the new “clout”.
by Stuart Shea
“Rabbit Ears,” the fans all say . . .
“Rabbit Ears,” stick to the play!
Don’t chase after players; don’t be dumb,
Don’t look for a reason to use your thumb
Don’t be so sensitive to criticism,
Even if your work is seen through a prism
That blows up each and every mistake
That a home plate umpire seems to make.
Otherwise, plate umpires soon may be
As useful as rabbit ears on a TV.
by James Finn Garner
RIP Paul Carey (1928-2016), long-time Tigers radio announcer.
The roar of a Rouge Plant furnace
Birthing a Thunderbird
The muscle roll of Gitchee Gumee
Festooned in spray
The ancient trees deep-rooted
Strummed like a lyre
The tectonic rumble of two peninsulas
Alive in summer