Then the crowd
parted a little, and Thayer was able to watch as Casey clenched his teeth and
pounded his bat. Landis sweated even more. He would have gone to the resin bag,
only there weren't any resin bags yet, so he rubbed his hand on his clothes, on
his cap, his socks, his hair, his mustache. Then he reared back and let the
ball go. Casey saw it all the way. The pitch didn't have a thing on it. He
began his swing, poised, evenly, perfectly....
Casey missed it
by a country mile.
Mudville couldn't believe it. Flossie could. Flossie cried. Casey had gone on
the take. There was no joy in Mudville.
pitch had darted down, and it went under the catcher's glove. It began to roll
to the backstop, and here came Flynn, already bearing down on the plate. Casey
began to run for first. The catcher got to the ball, picked it up, dropped it,
picked it up again, and there went the throw, soaring over the first baseman's
head by five feet. Flynn scored. It was 4-3. And here came old Blake right
behind. Tie score. Four-up. And Casey was on his way to second. He rounded the
bag, and the rightfielder picked up the horse-hide down the line and threw
behind Casey, to nail him as he tried to scramble back to second. Only Casey
saw where the throw was going, and he put his head down and kept on for third.
The second-sacker took the throw, a good one, whirled and whipped it to third.
It bounced in the dirt as Casey slid, and ricocheted off the third baseman's
shoulder and down the leftfield line. Casey scrambled to his feet and was on
his way home. The third baseman tore back, picked up the ball and fired it to
the plate. Casey slid. The catcher took the ball and slapped it on him.
"Safe," the umpire said.
Chester Drinkwater muttered.
There was joy in
Mudville. The crowd poured onto the field and lifted Casey to its shoulders. He
had struck out, but they hoisted him up and began to parade him around.
Casey saw Flossie
out in center. The rest of the crowd had run in, and she was just standing
there, all alone, the tears flowing down her cheeks. "Let me down, let me
down!" Casey cried, and he fought his way off the shoulders to the ground
and ran to her, ran as fast as he could, ran even faster than he had when he'd
circled the bases.
Only, when he
grabbed her, Flossie said, "I hate you, Timothy Casey."
me, Flossie. Dammit, listen to me! I tried. I tried! I tried! He just struck me
believe you," she said, and she twisted away from him.