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Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic…

Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 (1888)

by Ernest L. Thayer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Being both a lover of poetry and baseball, "Casey at Bat" is as familiar to me as "Line-Up for Yesterday." This classic American poem, written in 1888 as the title suggests, is about a fictional baseball team, "The Mudville Nine." Down 2 runs in the ninth inning, the crowd hopes that their team's best hitter, Casey, can step up to bat. However, the first two batters of the inning fail to reach, and the fans begin to leave. The next to batters unexpectedly both get hits, which allows Casey to come to bat. Due to hubris, Casey allows the first two pitches to pass him as strikes. But then, on the third pitch, he takes a mighty swing...and promptly strikes out, thus ending the tale.

The character of Casey is one that students can learn from. His boneheaded actions at the plate, during a crucial time in the game, shows the downfall of having too much pride in your own abilities, especially in baseball when getting a hit just 1/3 of the time puts you in rarefied air. There's also the lesson of taking advantage of the opportunities you have, as opposed to waiting out a situation (something I often do, so I did a bit of reflection post-reading).

As for class, this is a great poem to use as an example for a "standard" poem - it's fun, it's about sports, and it has such a great build-up to a non-payoff that the situation becomes comical. While it's funny, build up is a key ingredient in developing a narrative, no matter how long, which provides engagement and investment for the reader.

The students' will likely be entertained by the text, and it adheres to both a meter and rhyme scheme. While most students at the high school level would probably be familiar with a couplet scheme, showing the consistent 7 foot meter could be educational. It could also culminate in students writing their own poems about a tense situation in their own lives, or a fictional one, provided they stick to the scheme of "Casey at Bat." ( )
  JFinnegan | Jan 26, 2016 |
Summary: The book is a poem about a star baseball player who strikes out when the team needed him most causing his team to lose the game
Personal Reaction: The rhyming kept me anxious to see what would happen next. I was shocked that Casey did not hit the ball on the third pitch.
Extension Ideas:
1.Have the students write their own rhyming poem about a sport of their choice
2.Have the kids figure out the rhyme scheme.
  Alicia917934 | Jul 23, 2015 |
Summary: In this poem, it is the last inning of a baseball game and the home team is down two runs with two outs and their two worst players up to bat. Miraculously, the two players get on base, and now their best player, Casey, is up to bat. Everyone believes they are going to win now. Casey watches one strike go by, then another, and finally he strikes out. Everyone is shocked and disappointed.

Reflection: This poem is kind of confusing, but there is a couple of things I got from it. One, don't assume anything, because you never know what could happen. Two, don't ever get too big headed, because when you do, that is when someone will come along and deflate it very quickly.

Extension: For a extension, I would have the students discuss what their reaction would be if they were a fan of that team and how they would feel. For another activity, I would create a poem using the whole class. I would choose a topic then go around the room and have each student come up with a line for the poem.
  mikefletch | Apr 15, 2015 |
I love the way the old-styled illustrations and short story pieces before and after the original "Casey at the Bat" poem really bring this story to life. Adding what seems like minor factors actually makes this piece more enjoyable and understandable for younger children as it helps them see past some of the harder language to really understand the moral of the story. The umpire as a character close to Casey really added a little something special too :) ( )
  KMClark | Jul 17, 2014 |
I love the old-fashioned look of all of Bing's illustrations! His drawings, paired with some real historical artifacts, put the Mighty Casey in a context that looks appropriate for the 1880s when the poem was first written.
  vsoler | Jun 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Bill Ott (Booklist, Feb. 15, 2001 (Vol. 97, No. 12))
First-time children's book illustrator Bing's take on Casey at the Bat represents, above all, a stunning example of contemporary bookmaking in which the most sophisticated electronic techniques have been used to re-create the past. The text is presented as a "newly discovered," 100-year-old scrapbook into which newspaper articles, including Thayer's poem and other memorabilia, have been pasted, recording not only the events of the day--Casey's ninth-inning strikeout and the Mudville nine's four-to-two defeat--but also a broader view of the baseball world in 1888. The poem is illustrated in two-page spreads in which Bing's scratchboard drawings effectively capture the look of engravings used in newspapers of the period. Imposed over the drawings are fictional clippings that amplify issues suggested in the text (on the spread where Jimmy Blake "tears the cover off the ball," an editorial decries the practice of using only one ball throughout a game). Elsewhere, the illustrations depict a black player, and the clipping concerns the soon-to-be-instituted color line. (As with all the fictional clippings, this reference to baseball before the color line is historically accurate.) There is a phenomenal amount of information on baseball history compacted into this fascinating format, and the juxtaposition of memorabilia to text is unfailingly, even exhaustingly, clever (a newspaper ad for "bronchial troches" to cure hoarseness appears alongside the lines "Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell"). As with so many recent tour-de-force picture books, however, questions linger about the audience. For all its brilliance and bravura, this is a far less kid-friendly Casey than Gerald Fitzgerald's 1995 version. Adults, of course, will marvel at the bookmaking and relish the arcane information, but they may meet a fate similar to Casey's when they try to pass on their enthusiasm to their young children. Category: Books for the Young--Nonfiction. 2000, Handprint, $17.95. Ages 5-8.

added by kthomp25 | editBooklist, Bill Ott (Apr 16, 2010)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ernest L. Thayerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bendis, KeithIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, GeraldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frame, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, MartinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gould, ElliottPerformersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, DonaldAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hull, JimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kane, CarolPerformersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neiman, LeRoyDrawingssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Payne, C. F.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polacco, PatriciaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torre, JoeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tripp, WallaceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yarnell, JimDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning left to play.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689854943, Hardcover)

The outlook wasn't brilliant

for the Mudville nine that day:

The score stood four to two

with but one inning more to play....

Since 1888 Casey at the Bat has been read and loved by baseball fans around the world. Now Mighty Casey has been brought to life by celebrated illustrator C. F. Payne, who captures the old-fashioned fun of an afternoon at the ballpark for a brand-new generation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:05 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A narrative poem about a celebrated baseball player who struck out in the crucial moment of a game.

» see all 7 descriptions

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