Manuscript Found in a Batting Helmet

An ancient manuscript was discovered at the sacred battleground known as the Way of Fen. Read on if you dare to read the terrible tale of those brave warriors with the Socks of Red, written by the hilarious Professor Jay Elliott.

f4135caf4f5d2ce4b8914063312e6ff9Note: this manuscript was found at 6:30 AM on the morning of 11 September 1978 crumpled in a crimson batting helmet reposing on the front steps of the editor. Its provenance, as well as its author, are unknown. It is written on foolscap in broad black ink in a formal hand. The manuscript measures 8 ¾ in. x 12 ½ in. Whether or not it concerns the disaster of 7 – 10 September in Boston, Massachusetts I must leave to the judgment of the reader.

Lo! On this day was seen a great wonder. At the last echo from the bat that struck the final fly across the shadowed reach of the garden way of Fen, there arose from the multitude a groan. On the farthest bench of the triangle stood a youth, who shook down his fist and toss’d his curls in the gold of the sun’s last rays. He stretch’d forth a hand, and he silenced the multitude, and spake:

“Thou hast betrayed us, O Infamy! O Yaz, O Lynn, O Carl of Fisk, yes, even thou, James, Earl of Rice, thou sufferest thy throng most grievous wrongs. Where art thou, O fever of June? Gone! Awash in a sea of error; dragged through a slough of despond, fallen on a broken staff of wretches! Thou must atone, O blunderers! Thou fallest, O fumble-men, from out thy high perch. Thou hast let the pinstriped devils of hell attain thy reach, and thou art as fallen angels.

“Thine lips shalt be as parched, for no cooling bubbly shalt thee imbibe;

“Thine eyes shalt be as filled with dust, for no flag shalt thou see;

“Thine ears shalt be as stopp’d with wax, for curses from the multitude shalt follow thee to the end of thy days;

“Thy white shall be as dinge; thy crimson bands as blood shed in the service of the infidel;

“Verily, thou shalt be cursed as dogs, for thou has raised in the multitude the hopes of October, and dash’d them in the fires of September. Go ye and weep, for I am the prophet of doom!”

Once more arose from the multitude great groans, and more and yet more, and they brake as waves against the Monster of Green. Men were seen to weep; and women to clutch their breasts and shriek; yea, even the babes would not be comforted.

Then came from the east a mighty rumble, and the lightning flashed, and the sign of Citgo was split in twain, and even the Monster of Green trembled. And lo! The heavens opened, and a voice spake the multitude to silence, for they were sore afraid:

“Thou art a false prophet! Know thee that once again have I brought adversity to test my chosen. Thus have I parted the Sound and let the Pharoah of George cross with his horde to pillage this garden way of Fen.

“In June looked I down on the garden and its multitude and saw I that it was good. And I rested. Then saw I in August that the devil had entered my garden. And the multitude was worshipping false idols: complacency and idleness and lack of fundamentals; verily, thy idols have been executing poorly. Heed well, for I say unto thee, O multitude, thou has been counting thy chickens before they were hatched.

“I was wroth, and I have caused thy hurlers to tremble, and I have taken the sting from their pitches of fast;

“I was wroth, and I have caused thy batters to mumble, and I have twisted their hickory like screws of cork;

“I was wroth, and I have caused thy catchers to stumble, and I have pushed the enemy’s ups of pop beyond their reaches;

“I was wroth, and I have pulled thy idols from their high perch and caused the multitude to fear me once more. Thus sayest the Commissioner of Commissioners.”

Then said he to the assembled warriors of bat and ball, who spake not, for they too were full of awe and terror:

“I was wroth, but to you, my chosen, am I now merciful. Verily, I say unto you, though thou walkest through the valley of the shadow of Bronx, thou shalt fear no evil. Thy bats and thy staff shall comfort you. I shall deliver you from the presence of the pinstripes, though it will take six and twenty long years. Suffering shall lie ahead, for the fly of Dent and the stumble of Buck will test you. But the infidel shall be o’erthrown—heed me! Some of you shall not see it, but thou shalt part the waters of Bronx and o’ertake the pinstripes, though false pundit-prophets decree that all is lost. Execute well, and thou shalt dwell in the House of Fame. For I am the Pennant and the Series forever!”

And the multitude quietly left for the exits, for they knew they had witnessed a miracle.


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