COVID at the Bat: a Revised Poem

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Miami nine that day, with COVID at the Bat:

COVID at the BatThe Covid tests they took were few, with sixty games to play,
And then when Ramirez died at first, and Johnson did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon those who were to blame.

The cardboard fans were paralyzed, propped up in deep despair. The men
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in Hydroxychloroquine;
They thought, “If only Casey could but get a test at that —
We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.”

But Joyce preceded Casey, as did also Johnny Blake,
And the former was on Twitter, laughing about how everything was cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

Joyce was asymptomatic, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, coughed so violently, the Dodgers feared to touch the ball;
And when the ball was sanitized, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Johny safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from stadium speakers there rose a pre-recorded yell;
It rumbled through the outfield, it was texted on a cell;
It pounded empty concession stands and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was hobbling to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing but no mask on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to canned noise, he doffed his MAGA hat,
No one streaming from at home could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Cardboard eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Recorded fans applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
As the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hips,
You could notice Casey’s steely eyes, you could also see his lips.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching as if he didn’t care.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
“I feel a little dizzy,” said Casey. “Strike one!” the umpire said.

From the benches, with masked players, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Test him! Test the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have tested him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Republican hubris great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he put his trust in President Don;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey blacked out for a second; the umpire said, “Strike two!”

“Social distance!” cried his teammates, and Casey answered “Hoax!”
A scornful look from Casey and his teammates fried like yokes.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey followed QAnon and no one thought him sane.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his 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 air is shattered by the force of Casey’s 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 somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in baseball—mighty Casey lost his COVID bout.

Note: Apologies to Ernest Thayer!

Kristopher Wood