April 27, 2013

Portlander to recite 'Casey at the Bat' at Fenway

By Steve Solloway ssolloway@pressherald.com
Columnist

(Continued from page 1)

Mort Soule
click image to enlarge

Mort Soule of Portland stands near home plate in Fenway Park before practicing his reading of 'Casey At The Bat' in preparation for Sunday's State of Maine Day at Fenway Park.

Josh Reynolds for the Portland Press Herald

Mort Soule
click image to enlarge

Mort Soule of Portland show's his copy of 'Casey At The Bat' edited down to three minutes in preparation for Sunday's reading.

Josh Reynolds for the Portland Press Herald

In 2005, while visiting his daughter at New York University, Soule wanted to go onto the stage at Washington Square in lower Manhattan, where a very young Bob Dylan had once sung and where Vietnam War protesters had voiced their cause.

Soule recited "Casey at the Bat." He was uncharacteristically subdued. Maybe it was the urban environment so far from Mudville. "You would have had to walk right by me," he said, "to hear 'Kill the umpire.'"

A couple of months ago, Soule was invited to recite Casey by the Boston developer Don Chiofaro, his former roommate at Phillips Exeter Academy. Red Sox owner Larry Lucchino, General Manager Ben Cherington and Manager John Farrell were in the audience that day at One International Place, Chiofaro's office complex.

Soule was a hit and got the opportunity of his lifetime. He's done Casey three times on the Fourth of July at Hadlock Field in Portland and been thrilled. Fenway Park is a step up.

Friday morning, Soule drove to Fenway to rehearse, wearing his uniform from Greely High School, where he's now the junior varsity coach, assisting his son, Derek Soule, the varsity head coach.

He will rehearse again Sunday morning, hours before the game. By the time he's done rehearsing, he expects the groundskeepers should be able to recite "Casey at the Bat" themselves.

Is he nervous? Maybe a little. But this won't be his first time standing on the grass at Fenway. His championship Little League team was invited to take fielding practice there in 1957.

There was joy in Mudville that day. 

Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

Twitter: SteveSolloway

 

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