Penned by Ernest Thayer in 1888, "Casey at the Bat" is a longform poem describing a typical baseball game, wherein the fans of the "Mudville Nine" are rooting for their beloved hitter Casey to win the game for them. An iconic poem in the annals of baseball history, it is possibly the Ur Example
of Down To The Last Play
Tropes found in "Casey at the Bat":
- Defictionalization: In a tribute to the poem, the real-life Stockton Ports minor league baseball team renamed themselves the Mudville Nine in 2000 and 2001.
- Downer Ending: "But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out."
- Down To The Last Play: In this case, Casey did not win the game for Mudville.
- Miracle Rally: Subverted. A series of mediocre players make it to base, and it looks like Mudville will come back at the last moment. Then their team hero, Casey, strikes out, losing the game.
- No Communities Were Harmed/Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Some contended that Mudville was based on an actual location. One possibility is Holliston, Massachussetts; others say that Mudville was based on Stockton, California.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog
- Unbuilt Trope: Subverts Down To The Last Play, despite being one of the first works to even use the trope. In fact, the trope was once named for Casey.