Howard at the Bat

Posted: Dec 10, 2003 12:00 AM
It's a bleak time of year for this sports fan. The Bowl Championship Series has rendered college football meaningless, with the best team in the country, University of Southern California, barred from the national championship game (although since I'm a UCLA student, this does bring me some twisted pleasure). In basketball, my beloved Boston Celtics are struggling to break .500, and the hated Lakers are dominating the league, with their combination of muscle, skill and adulterous experience. Hockey is boring -- I live in California, where half the population does not know what ice is.

So I dream of baseball season, when my Chicago White Sox can once again disappoint me, the Chicago Cubs can once again amuse me, and the Boston Red Sox can finally end the Curse of the Bambino. With thoughts of baseball running through my mind, the political news takes on an entirely different color. So, with respect to Ernest L. Thayer, I offer this poetic commentary:

Howard at the Bat

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the leftist nine that day;
The score stood Bush at 54 with but one year to play.
Then when Edwards got 6 percent, and Kerry did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A centrist few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to hope which springs eternal in each Democratic breast;
They thought if only Howard could but get a whack at that --
They'd ditch all the matching funds now with Howard at the bat.

But Gephardt preceded Howard, as did also Ol' Wes Clark,
The former was mind-numbing and the latter question-marked;
So upon that far-left multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Howard's getting to the bat.

But Gephardt dropped in Iowa, to the wonderment of all,
And Clark, indecisive, could not heed the Clintons' call;
And when the dust had lifted, and the left saw what had occurred,
There was Wesley beyond repair and Dickie in deep merde.

Then from Al Gore and his cronies there rose a lusty cry;
It rumbled throughout Harlem, it rattled in N.Y.;
It frightened Mrs. Clinton, and it knocked McAuliffe flat;
For Howard, mighty Howard, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Howard's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Howard's bearing, a stiff smile on Howard's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he said Bush was a rat,
No leftist in the crowd could doubt 'twas Howard at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him in the Democrat debate;
Five thousand tongues applauded when about Iraq he'd prate.
Then while President Bush ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Howard's eye, a sneer curled Howard's lip.

And now the pro-defense public came hurtling through the air,
And Howard stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the crowd unheeded sped --
"That ain't my style," said Howard. "Strike one," the umpire said.

From the benches stuffed with Franken fans, there rose a muffled roar,
Like cries of "No more war for oil" from Washington press corps.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted peaceniks on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Howard raised his hand.

With a smile of metrosexuality Howard's visage shone;
He redid his Revlon makeup and then bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and the pro-marriage crowd flew;
But Howard still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Howard and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his forehead strain,
And they knew that Howard couldn't let that crowd go by again.

The sneer is gone from Howard's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now that cowboy holds the crowd, and now Bush lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Howard's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this leftist land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and in Europe hearts are light,
And somewhere gays are laughing, and somewhere appeasers shout;
But there is no joy in Leftville -- mighty Howard has struck out.