‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE BASEBALL
Re-written by S. M. & V.E.S. Foulk
‘Twas just hours before Baseball, when all through the house
Not a thought of October, not even an ounce.
The fields were all green, foul lines chalked with care,
In hopes of opening day that soon would be there.
The faithful all huddled ‘round television sets,
While visions of double plays danced in their heads.
My wife in her Nats cap, and I in my Cubs,
Had just settled our rosters for the late inning subs.
When up from the radio there ‘rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter.
Away to the living room I flew like a flash,
Turned up the TV, volume cranked to full blast.
The sun on the field, with the grass freshly mowed
Red earth ‘round the baselines, like setting sun’s glow.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a young rookie pitch, gritty catch and field-airs.
With a right plump old ump, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment that this must be it.
More rapid than eagles the players they came,
Man’ger whistled, and shouted, I called them by name!
"Now Sandberg! Now Santo! Now Williams! and now Banks!
On, Maddux! On, Jenkins! On, Dawson and on Grace!
To the top of the Central! To the top of them all!
Now pitch away! Hit away! Let’s win ‘em all!"
When wild leaves in October break free and they fly,
When comes that World Series I may surely cry.
So up to the field-top, infielders they flew,
Dreams of MVP Trophies, Commissioner’s too.
And then, in a twinkling, heard on the PA
The National Anthem was starting to play.
As I lifted my head, and I lowered my hat,
Down turned all the voices as they searched for the Flag
He was dressed in clean jersey, new shoes on each foot,
And timing his swing, in batter’s circle he stood.
A bundle of bats, he had flung on his back,
With the greatest of ease he swung them this way and that.
His eyes analytical! His swing how precise!
The pitcher tossed fastballs, threw his curveball just twice!
The outfielders glided and practiced long throws,
Catcher threw down to second, he’s ready to go.
The ump raised his hand, stepped behind homeplate,
Batter’s foot in the box, my heart could not wait.
The broadcaster hummed, in tones of Vin Scully,
Told tales of yesteryear, then baseball contemp’ry!
The pitcher long legged, he hiked up his belt,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know a mean fastball to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to work,
Hanging knee-high stockings, then he turned with a jerk.
And whipping out gracefully, releasing the ball,
And giving a nod, the ump barked out a call!
The batter shook his head and gave out a whistle,
Away toward the mitt, flew first pitch like a missile.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove it out in the ninth,
"Happy Opening day to all, and to all a good-night!"