Friday, October 30, 2015

Casey at the Bat.

One of the things I did when I was a young father and raising my two daughters was to try to give them an introduction to what I consider "foundational" stories.

I fairly bludgeoned them with the Greek myths, with the Iliad and the Odyssey, with Dr. Seuss and things like E.B. White's Charlotte's Web and the Trumpet of the Swan.

But the thing I hit them hardest with was "Casey at the Bat--A Ballad of the Republic Sang in 1888."

As the World Serious (as Ring Lardner's busher would say) returns tonight to New York, I think you could do worse than taking a couple of minutes and reading Thayer's poem, or listening to it out loud, or reading it out loud yourself.

I've included Lionel Barrymore's rendition here. But there are plenty on You Tube and you can find your own. You might like Disney's version narrated by the great Jerry Colonna, or James Earl Jones' stentorian recitation.  (BTW, my one issue with Barrymore's version is the variations he introduces into the text. But his reading is so, to my ears, perfect, that I enjoyed it.)
We talk a lot in our daily orbit around the sun about story-telling. But we take damned little time listening to great stories, much less writing our own.

So like I said, maybe when you're watching the game tonight, turn off the volume during a commercial break and listen to the above instead.

Not a bad way to spend six minutes. Or 12. Or 19.

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