After the Mets’ devastating loss to the Cardinals last night, it seems fitting to end the week with an off-topic, game 7-inspired poem written by my friend and colleague, Darryl Salerno.
With apologies to Ernest L. Thayer…
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Metville nine that day,the score stood three to one, with one half inning to play. A straggling few got up to go in deep despair,the rest stayed and prayed that hope was still there.
They thought, "if only Carlos could but get a whack at that, we’d put up even money now, with Carlos at the bat." But Jose preceded Carlos, as did also Endy Chavez, and the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a pez.
So upon that stricken multitude, grim melancholy sat, for there seemed but little chance of Carlos getting to the bat. But Jose let drive a single, to the wonderment of all, and Endy, with the catch, tore the cover off the ball.
And when the dust had lifted, they felt no longer cursed, there was Jose safe at second and Endy on at first. But when Floyd could not make contact and Reyes lined to Jim, there was just one out to go and the Mets were on a limb. Up came Paul Lo Duca, who put the pitcher through the paces, he used his eye to draw a walk and loaded up the bases.
Then from fifty thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell, it rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell. It pounded through on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,for Carlos, mighty Carlos, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Carlos’ manner as he stepped into his place, there was pride in Carlos’ bearing and a smile lit his face. And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat, no stranger in the crowd could doubt t’was Carlos at the bat.
Ten million eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt, five million tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt. Then, while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip, defiance flashed in Carlos’ eye, a sneer curled his lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air, and Carlos stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there. Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped — "That ain’t my style," said Carlos. "Strike one!" the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar, like the beating of the storm waves on a stern and distant shore. "Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand, and it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Carlos raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity, great Carlos’ visage shone, he stilled the rising tumult, he bade the game go on. He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew; but Carlos tipped it lightly, and the umpire said, "Strike two!"
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!" but one scornful look from Carlos and the audience was awed. They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain, and they knew that Carlos wouldn’t let that ball go by again.
The sneer has fled from Carlos’ lip, the teeth are clenched in hate. He pounds, with cruel violence, his bat upon the plate. And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go, and now the crowd is shattered by the lack of Carlos’ blow.
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 little children shout, but there is no joy in Metville — mighty Carlos has struck out.