In honor of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s classic poem, Casey at the Bat, here is a modern version celebrating one of last year’s sweetest moments: the ninth-inning home run by DJ LeMahieu in Game Six of the ALCS.
DJ at the Bat
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the New York nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
But Urshela hit a single, a stinging shot to left,
And hope began to blossom in every pinstriped chest.
Then Gardy stepped up to the plate, a rally just beginning,
But momentum can be fickle, and Brett was punched out swinging,
And though the Astros needed just two outs for AL glory,
The slugger known as DJ sought to complicate the story.
His teammates called him The Machine, a man of action over words,
A player for the old-school grumps and the analytics nerds.
Aaron Boone had once attested that DJ lived to rip out hearts,
And now the time had finally come for him to play his part.
Yankees fans were counting on his steady right-field stroke,
But the Houston crowd was rabid, screaming that he’d choke.
Nails were chewed and fingers crossed; no baseball fan still sat,
For DJ, mighty DJ, was advancing to the bat.
He stood in against Osuna, his face a mask of calm,
Would he ground into a double play? Might he hit a bomb?
The pitcher nodded at his backstop, and dealt with a fearsome stride,
But DJ didn’t offer. “Ball one!” called the ump — easily outside.
Then Osuna hurled a heater that DJ swung right through,
And followed with another, fouled off for one-and-two.
Just one strike from a disaster, the pressure began to mount,
But The Machine refused to chase a pitch, and evened up the count.
Keen of eye and quick of hand, he guarded every inch of plate,
Spoiling pitches five and six, fighting off seven and eight.
Nine ran high and then the count was full of balls and strikes,
But DJ didn’t tremble, he just dug in his spikes.
Osuna reared back again and let a fastball go,
Yet so locked in was DJ that time began to slow.
In his mind the crowd went silent; he couldn’t hear a thing,
And his eyes measured every stitch as he stepped into his swing.
And on screens across the nation, fans beheld a joyous sight:
The ball had met DJ’s bat and was soaring out toward right.
Springer tracked the drive until he backed against the wall.
A million lungs all held their breath waiting for its fall.
And when his shot touched down amid the hostile Houston faces,
Gio scampered home and DJ headed round the bases.
There was rapture in the dugout; there was shock throughout the park,
As he had done all season, again DJ brought the spark.
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 singing of his fame,
For when the Yankees called upon him, DJ tied the game.
And though in bottom nine Altuve handled Chapman’s fire,
His feat will be forgotten, because he probably wore a wire.
And Yankees fans will treasure the time LeMahieu made them shout,
And always will remember when mighty DJ hit one out.