wasn't brilliant for the Fenway nine yesterday;
The score stood four to two, with but two innings more to play,
And then when Hillenbrand got to first, and Varitek did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, "If only Manny could but get a whack at that —
We'd put up even money now, with Manny at the bat."
popped to left field, as Daubach's drive was a fake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat;
For there seemed but little chance of Manny getting a ninth inning at bat.
But Damon let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Nomar, who left runners on base, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Nomar safe at first and Damon a-hugging third.
Then from thirty-four thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Manny, mighty Manny, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Manny's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Manny's bearing and a smile lit Manny's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Manny at the bat.
Thirty-four thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
Thirty-four thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Manny's eye, a sneer curled Manny's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Manny stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped —
"It doesn't matter," said Manny. "Strike one!" the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted some one on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Manny raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Manny's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Manny still ignored it, and the umpire said "Strike two!"
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Manny and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Manny wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer has fled from Manny's lip, the teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Manny's blow.
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 little children shout;
But there is no joy at Fenway — mighty Manny has struck out.