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Sanitized

A word of warning, this story is unsubstantiated. There is no proof whatsoever that any lines were ever omitted from the original poem.                                                      


  Sanitized

 Americana! Its what America is about. The Statue of Liberty, The Coca Cola emblem. Thanksgiving Dinner and Baseball are all unique representations of our country. Norman Rockwell’s art is pure Americana, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is American literature. Casey at the Bat pure American Poetry.

 No!! Wait a moment! You think you know the story of Casey at the Bat, right? A self-absorbed, ego-centric baseball superstar who thought he was too great to fail. With two outs in the ninth inning, he watched two pitches go by that were strikes without attempting to even swing. Then he grimly dug in, focused all his attention on the third pitch with the intent of knocking the ball out of the county. And missed. And struck out. A joyless Mudville. Is that the way you remember Casey at the Bat?

  Nothing…. And I mean NOTHING could be further from the truth. What we all read was the “sanitized” version of Casey. Call it the PG version. The complete version has 18 missing lines that editors at that time thought would be too…hmmm… incendiary to put in print.

      Below is the full version of Casey at the Bat. I’ve numbered the missing lines, made them bold and blue. Read it and draw your own conclusions.

Ralph A Famiglietti

  1. Casey at the Bat

(unedited version)

The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:

The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.

And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,

A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest

Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;

They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that -

We'd put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,

And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;

So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,

For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,

And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;

And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,

There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;

It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;

It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,

For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;

There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.

And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,

No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;

Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.

Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,

Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

1. They knew he’d never fail them and they still refused to doubt

While suddenly a voice declared, “I’ll bet you he strikes out!”

Five thousand roars of laughter soon became a rising din.

I’ll take that bet,” and “So will i,” and “Hey, there, count me in.”

And while the gambling fever swept the stands from every side,

The pitcher threw a wide one and “Ball One” the umpire cried.

2. Ball Two inflamed the spirit of the Mudville betting clan

“Come on, let’s raise the ante, stranger,” yelled a local man.

And more and more believers in their Casey’s artistry

Displayed their faith with wagers while the pitcher threw Ball Three.

3. And now excitement mounted as the count had run its string

A walk would put the winning run on base — a very foolish thing.

“I still say he will miss it,” called the stranger, loud and brash.

“I’ll double every bet and cover any extra cash!”

4. The crowd responded wildly, turning to this reckless knave.

And no one paid attention to the wink that Casey gave.

For the stranger came from Reno — and Arnold was his name.

And his brother’s son was Casey, who’d agreed to throw the game

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,

And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.

Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-

"That ain't my style," said Casey. "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 its likely they'd a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;

He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;

He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;

But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;

But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.

They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,

And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

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 Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out

    {The 18 lines in bold are the ones commonly omitted.}