Fellow residents of Mudville,
It’s me, Casey Gershowitz, or as I am now known to everyone, “Casey At the Bat.” In the two months since I struck out to end a meaningless regular season baseball game, I have not been able to go anywhere in town without hearing people recite the terrible poem that some creep named Ernest Lawrence Thayer wrote about me. I asked the editor of the Mudville Herald if he would allow me to publish an op-ed response, and after making a lame joke about how he was “sure this one would be a home run,” he agreed.
Firstly, to Ernest Lawrence Thayer, a man whom I have never met but is apparently obsessed with me: Thank you so much for taking the ONE TIME I messed up at baseball and turning it into an incredibly long poem. What a wonderful use of your creative faculties. You seem like a very chill person.
Secondly, to everybody else: What the hell? I thought you liked me because I hit a bunch of homers, but I guess I was wrong. I cannot believe how fast you all turned on me.
Since you guys think it’s so cool to write mean poems about people and never let them live down their mistakes, I have composed a poem of my own. It’s about Joe, the cook at the Mudville Diner, who got my order wrong once. Check it out:
‘Twas morning at the diner, and things were going south.
Casey’d ordered eggs and toast to put into his mouth.
But when the eggs arrived they were fried instead of poached.
Guess we should all make fun of Joe forever and make him feel like crap even though he’s generally excellent at his job.
Not that fun, right? Pretty mean and unnecessary, right? Sorry, Joe. That’s just how things are in Mudville now.
I would also like to point out that while I did strike out that time, I’d hit a two-run homer earlier in the SAME GAME. We wouldn’t even have been in a position to win in the first place if it wasn’t for me. But I guess there wasn’t enough space to include that information anywhere in your dumb poem’s one million shitty stanzas. Seriously, what an unbelievably long poem. If you’re wondering what an appropriate length for a poem would be, here’s another one that I wrote:
Chris the tailor said my pants would be ready Sunday,
But when I went to pick them up he said to come back again on Tuesday. Screw you, Chris, you blew it.
Reciting this poem endlessly would be a great use of everyone’s time.
For the record, when I went back on Tuesday, Chris had not only fixed my pants, but he also apologized by throwing in one of those monogrammed handkerchiefs he makes, for free. He is, after all, a fantastic tailor and a consummate professional. But why should that stop me from being a petty little asshole? (Also, I caught him reciting the poem under his breath, so he can go to hell.)
I guess what I’m saying is, we’ve all had our fun with the poem and it is time to stop now. Clearly, everybody is very excited about how baseball was invented a few years ago, but ask yourselves, is my strikeout really the primary thing this town should be focusing on? Our schools are so underfunded that summer vacation is eight months long. Our mayor is an openly corrupt idiot. He just made his own son the chief of police, and that kid is a sixteen-year-old who keeps setting buildings on fire. Why isn’t anyone writing a poem about that?
Mudville has no public works and also rampant crime.
Living here in Mudville makes me dismal all the time.
Maybe that’s why everybody treats baseball games like the end of the world.
Because they don’t want to think about how they live in a place that’s literally named after mud.
I guess that’s all for now. I’ll see you when the school year finally starts as I am, of course — in addition to being the semi-professional baseball player that you have transferred one hundred percent of your emotional baggage onto — your kids’ kindergarten teacher.
I hope to see none of you at our next home game. Get stuffed.
Part-Time Ballplayer, Full-Time Person With Feelings
P.S. Not that any of you care, but I have a sneaking suspicion that at some point in the future baseball will experience a statistical revolution that mathematically proves it’s favorable to take a lot of pitches, hit a lot of home runs, and strike out frequently, at which time I will be completely vindicated. Just a hunch.