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Casey at the Bat

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.

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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.

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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.

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But Flynn let drive a single,
to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised,
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
“Get him! Get the umpire!”
shouted someone on the stand;
And it's likely they'd a-got him
had not Casey raised his hand.

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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.”

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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FAZ Reading Level Detail

Lexile Score 960
Word Count 572
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