Strike Three

The children’s sandlot chant “Hey batter, hey batter, hey batter SWING!” supplied the tempo and downbeat for this whimsical poem-story. Whimsical, but if you’ve ever stood at the plate and tried to hit a curve ball–even a Little League curve–you know the serious mind warp and sense of imbalance a well-thrown pitch can cause.

Strike Three by poetrydnapoet

Written for the Music Weeklies Challenge, the theme was “Screwball.” My exploration of the theme traveled through baseball screwballs and eventually arrived at screwball comedies of the 1930s. A reference to EDM dj Skrillex seemed to make screwball sense.


Hey batter Hey batter Hey batter, swing!
He always hated to hear that chant
Especially when he was the batter
Just let me swing, he thought, I'll show 'em
He knew he wasn't a slugger, but he rarely struck out
Could always put the ball in play somewhere, even if he had to just bunt and hope for the best
First pitch, a fast ball down the middle, caught him a bit off balance, flat footed, on his heels
Not because he wasn't expecting a fastball--he was, all the pitches in Little League had been--but because it was SO fast
and because it popped into the catcher's glove so loud, he didn't expect that
Next pitch was a bit slower, but when the ball arrived about three feet from him,
it suddenly stopped--in mid air--slid to the right about a foot--and then dropped straight down like dropping off a table
The batter's jaw dropped with it
Ha! the catcher taunted, you've just seen your first curve ball
The pitcher she calls it Gravy
Just wait til you see her screwball, she calls it the Cary Grant
The batter, two strikes against him now, determined to hit the next pitch no matter what she called it
The pitcher flipped her head slightly, her pony tail swept back and forth behind her cap
Then she wound up, and with a slight twist to her wrist, threw a whistling parabola toward him like a ninja throwing a star blade
The ball curved and sliced toward the batter and there was nothing he could do but swing lamely
He had struck out, and it was like hearing Skrillex for the first time, the ground had shifted under his feet
. . .
Cary Grant / Myrna Loy / Claudette Colbert / Carole Lombard / Spencer Tracy / Katherine Hepburn / Rosalind Russell / Irene Dunne / William Powell / Clark Gable et al . . . Irene Dunne

  • This post contains samples of “Fun in a bakery shop” by Porter, Edwin S., production, camera., Thomas A. Edison, Inc., and Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress). Retrieved from Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division.

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