At 17-40, the Baltimore Orioles have the worst record in baseball. They have won just two of their last 10 games. I don’t even remember the wins. All I remember are the losses … every single day a loss … an endless parade of gloomy, lifeless, uncaring losses, like the endless days of rain that have dumped some 20 inches in our pitiful mushy yard since this pitiful baseball season began.
This mud pond used to be the road to our house. Better bring your swim fins!
Hey, I know the rules. Someone has to have the worst record in baseball. I just wish it wasn’t the O’s.
Grantland Rice In His Ball Playing Days. Vanderbilt Captain and Shortstop. 1901
Dear Grantland Rice, Legendary sportswriter, poet, and understander of loss, futility, and baseball’s broken dreams, what say you?
I often sit and wonder as I light a black cigar.
Just why some strange peculiar things are often as they are –
I wonder why the sky is blue and why the night is black –
I wonder if I’ll ever get a certain “Ten Spot” back.
That was a hundred years ago. I do not smoke cigars.
But, there are still peculiar things that stay just as they are —
I wonder what Grantland Rice would think of these listless O’s –
I think he’d shake his head and say, “The word is lachrymose.”
I wonder why it is that pay days are so few,
While bills, no matter where you turn, are always promptly due;
I wonder why I made that “flush” a night or so ago
When someone else was laying back with “four kings” in a row.
I wonder what it’s like to cheer for winning runs, wahoo!
Like Yankees fans, and Red Sox fans, and Astros fans all do.
I wonder how I ended up tied to these lousy O’s
Please tell me, what is winning like? Cuz I no longer know.
Rice’s verses are from The Tennessean, 1907.
The Baseball Bloggess’s response is from this laptop in the living room, 2018.
Grantland Rice In His Sportswriting Days.
In 1906, Rice wrote a response to Ernest Thayer’s wildly popular poem Casey At The Bat. Thayer wrote his famous poem in 1888 …
You know the one. The one that ends like this,
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.
Rice’s response, Casey’s Revenge, tells of a game that came a week later in Mudville. Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two out. The Mudville 9 need “three to tie the game.”
Casey steps up to bat …
Above the fence in center field in rapid whirling flight
The sphere sailed on – the blot grew dim and then was lost to sight.
Ten thousand hats were thrown in air, ten thousand threw a fit,
But no one ever found the ball that mighty Casey hit.
O, somewhere in this favored land dark clouds may hide the sun,
And somewhere bands no longer play and children have no fun!
And somewhere over blighted lives there hangs a heavy pall,
But Mudville hearts are happy now, for Casey hit the ball.
Revolutionary Soup, a restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia will give you a “poetry discount” if you can recite five lines of poetry from one of their poets of the month. Maybe, some day, Grantland Rice.
In the meantime, there are 105 games left in this season. And, 105 chances for the Orioles to remember what it’s like to win a game.
And, maybe the blasted rain will stop.