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":
- Animated Adaptation: Walt Disney has two of them: one in 1946 (recited by Jerry Colonna and set in 1902) as part of Make Mine Music, later released as an individual short in 1954; and a sequel, Casey Bats Again, also released in 1954.
- 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.
- Fan Works: A section of this collection of baseball poetry is devoted to "Casey at the Bat" and the many fan works it has inspired.
- Gretzky Has the Ball: At first glance, there's some seriously poor lineup construction by the Mudville manager, who has two terrible hitters batting directly ahead of Casey, the team's best hitter. Possibly justified if Casey had entered the game as a pinch hitter... though that practice wasn't nearly as common as it was exactly 100 years after ''Casey'', when a similar scenario played out with a happier ending.
- Hope Spot: The Miracle Rally.
- Miracle Rally: Subverted. Two despised lousy batters 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.
- Pride Before a Fall: If Casey hadn't stacked the deck against himself by delberately taking the first two pitches for strikes, he might have batted in the tying run at least.
- 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.
- Well This Is Not That Trope: Played for Drama in the last stanza.