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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Golden Sombrero Wearer

When I was in the green room for J.D. and Dave's Excellent Off-Season Adventure in the Fall, the plan was that I would read part of a poem I wrote for this blog. Here is the entirety of the poem which was written in March of 2008.

The Golden Sombrero Wearer(akaThe Strikeout King)

The bottom of the ninth, two down

A Duke on every base

A 3-nothing deficit stared the batter in the face.

The pitcher, clad in orange and black showed menace in his eyes

His job? To save this final game and claim the season’s prize.

The starter had been strong, through more than eight, no hits did show

In the heat his arm ran out of gas and walked three in a row

So, this fireman was called upon to quench the final spark

Leaving the Duke faithful to stagger in the dark.

To the plate, there strode a Duke who had been royal all year long

When the team was at its weakest, it seemed he became most strong.

Concerning ways to win a game, it seemed he’d done it all

Home runs, stolen bases, and a walk-off base on balls.

He carried them to wins at least a time or three each week.

And while he was a hero, his demeanor remained meek.

Yet, this day his bat was feeble, three straight times he had struck out

As he approached the plate this trip, some fans began to doubt.

He got into the box, his wood was his team’s final chance

The pitcher toed the rubber with his scowling menace glance.

The first pitch was a heater, 102 the radar blinked

The swing was no where even close, more fans felt their hearts sink.

The 0 and 1, no different, soon exploded in the mitt

The swing did not come closer than a half-a-mile of it.

Was this the way it would go down? This new old Casey’s end?

Was his bat to betray him?

It had been his closest friend.

The home crowd had turned silent, some of them just turned away

They couldn’t bear to see the season ended in this way.

So while some eyes averted, strike three hurtled to the plate

The grimace of the swinger was profound, for he was late.

A cry went up in anguish from the bleachers all around

Yet that sign of resignation muffled out another sound

It may have been the strain of catching balls at 1-0-1

It may have been the heat and playing in the summer sun

It may have been a miracle,

That’s still what some folks say

The details of the story are debated e’en today

Still, it seems in every version, the ball went to the backstop

And the catcher’s mitt was rent in two like a worn out old flip-flop.

By the time the catcher realized and discerned the passed ball’s place

The final strikeout victim was already at first base.

There he called out to his teammate who was standing still, quite stunned

“Come on, I’ll take you home! Come on, now with me run!”

Then at second base, he called again, “Come on wake up, run with me!”

With the catcher halfway to the ball, they were heading for base three.

Then the three of them, were rounding third and heading into home

When the Third Base runner realized that he was not alone.

So the four Dukes, they sped quickly, “To the plate! On to the plate!”

They churned their legs and hoped that they would not get home too late.

And the crowd by now, at least a part, had seen the running men

And stood back up and cheered and felt their hope come back again.

Then the catcher got the ball and whirled, yet his throw found only air

The pitcher? Shocked beyond belief, simply put, he wasn’t there.

He seemed stuck on the pitcher’s mound, anchored by some heavy weight.

And he only fell down on his knees as the fourth man crossed the plate.

The Dukes poured from the dugout, seeing this was not a dream

Then the Gold Sombrero wearer was raised up by all his team

The scoreboard told the story, brightly shining, all could see

From the clutches of defeat, the Dukes had claimed a win 4-3.

When all the dust had settled, the call-in shows began

The strikeout was discussed at length throughout the varied land

Most Duke fans were ecstatic

Recounting where they’d been

When the four men hurried to the plate

Securing the great win

Yet, some were not impressed they said, “That is not victory!

To have a season end that way, is just a travesty.”

The fans behind the losers were outraged, appalled, and more

A few signed a petition to protest the final score

The writers wrote, the talkers talked, the poets penned their rhyme

And some folks thought of baseball and the Dukes for the first time

My pencil is exhausted

Its work complete, no doubt

For it’s told of the day

The mighty strikeout king struck out.

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