you never beat John L. before," Casey said.
hanging the washing on the clothesline the next afternoon when Casey came
tearing up to her, his face all bruised. "Timothy, what in heaven's
got time," he said. "I'm already late for the game, and I gotta see
She gritted her
teeth at the mere mention of that name, but Casey only reached out and pinned
the horseshoe pin above her breast. "We can pluck the diamonds out and make
a proper engagement ring," he said, and with that he dashed off to the ball
yard. Flossie unfastened the pin to look it over. Why, it obviously cost even
more than the silk dress. How much more money was Drinkwater paying him now?
And for what? Furious, Flossie pinned the horseshoe back on, and even though
only half the washing had gone up on the line, she rushed off.
There had never
been a larger crowd for a baseball game in Mudville. Had everybody in town
skipped work? Had every kid robbed his piggy bank? Grumpy old Cyrus Weatherly
had stuck the overflow behind ropes in centerfield. Ernest Thayer had arrived
in time to get a ticket, but the crowd spilled over into the aisles, and he had
a hard time seeing some of the action.
But where was
Casey? Mighty Casey? Nobody knew. Only Drinkwater, sitting in his box by the
Mudville bench, beamed.
the Mudville manager, put McGillicuddy in for Casey, but the Mudvilles were at
sea without their star, and the Lynns built a 4-2 lead. Then, just as Lynn made
out in the seventh, here came Casey sauntering onto the diamond. The people
roared and screamed his name, everyone standing and stretching for just a
glance. Weatherly glowered at his tardy slugger. Drinkwater nodded his head and
winked at Casey as he jogged to the bench. The kid has a real sense of theater,
Drinkwater mused. To show up like this and then strike out—an even greater
disappointment for the gullible locals. Casey went right to the manager.
"I'm ready, Willie," he said.
Jimmy Blake was
leading off in the seventh, so McGillicuddy was on deck—Casey's spot. But
Flaherty waved the Mudville star away. "Sit down, Mr. Casey," he said.
"I play the guys who are here when the game starts."
While the crowd
booed, poor McGillicuddy batted—bumping a little dribbler back to the wheelman.
Three up and three down. And the same in the Mudville eighth. However, when
Barry O'Connor, the Mudville pitcher, retired the Lynns in order in the ninth
inning, he came out of the pitcher's box and headed straight for Flaherty, to
beseech him to let Casey have his licks. Flaherty spit and then said,
"O.K., Barry, if we get to McGillicuddy's spot, I'll give him a