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All the World's a Baseball Game
By Martin Naparsteck
The following is the original version of the "Seven Ages of Man" speech given by Jacques in Act II, Scene vii of Shakespeare's As You Like It. It was found in a previously unknown subbasement at the National Baseball Library in Cooperstown, New York.
All the world's a baseball game,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their at bats and their putouts,
And one man in his game plays many innings,
His innings being nine ages. At first, the leadoff hitter,
Sizing up the pitches, willing to accept a walk;
Then the determined infielder, crouched, awaiting
Any eventuality life may offer. And then the baserunner,
Swift of foot, eager to advance, even to steal.
The fourth inning brings the power hitter,
Certain of his strength, unaware of his faults in judgment.
And then the catcher, rugged in experience, poised
Nearly kneeling but proud. The sixth inning shifts
To the pinch hitter facing the relief pitcher,
One substitute against another, the originals
Lost in the distant memories of box scores.
Then the final play, the towering home run
Or the diving catch, or the weak, disappointing
Groundball, but the game does not close;
The eighth inning of life follows, a coach
Or manager or play-by-play announcer
Full of wise saws and modern instances,
His pouch over his belt, his form-fitting
Uniform an embarrassment. Last inning of all,
That ends this strange eventful game,
Is the final strikeout and mere showers,
Sans glove, sans cap, sans uniform, sans everything.
MARTIN NAPARSTECK is a novelist and short story writer who lives in Rochester, New York. In the 1960s he played on the Wilkes College baseball team in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
© 2002 Martin Naparsteck
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