Banner's Mad Dash Commemorated in Verse
May 17, 2005
AMHERST, MA - In Sunday’s NESCAC Baseball Championship game between Amherst and visiting Trinity, with the score tied 7-7, Amherst sophomore speedster Jared Banner (Brooklyn, NY) led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a triple to the right-center-field gap, igniting a mad dash around the bases that didn’t stop until he’d crossed home plate with the winning run. Banner’s “Mad Dash” capped an incredible game with one of the most spectacular plays in recent memory, and will forevermore be commemorated in verse (with apologies to Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).
BANNER’S MAD DASH
by Kevin Graber, Sports Information Director
Listen my children and soon you will clamor
Of the 10th-inning run of young Jared Banner.
On the fifteenth of May, in Two-thousand-and-five,
Hardly a man who saw the game live
Will soon forget his famous line drive.
He said to his mates, “If we reach the tenth inning
Barrel on ball will be but the beginning.
By walk or by hit from home plate I’ll advance
Four bags I will round when commencing to prance:
One base if by grounder, and two toward the gap
Third base in a flash my toes will then tap,
Ready to scramble and streak into home
Through Coach Thurston’s stop sign my spikes will soon roam.”
Then he shuffled his feet in a slow motion walk
And silently toed the on-deck circle chalk,
While gray clouds were breaking high overhead.
Where raindrops once forced the tarp to be spread,
The sun now shone in a bright orange face
Spitting pale shadows all over the place.
Across the diamond they were magnified
Where young Jared Banner would soon turn the tide.
Meanwhile, the fans in bleachers and seats
Wondered and watched and stomped with their feet,
Till through the silence around him he hears
The muster of cheers, the chatter from peers,
And the measured pop of the last warm-up pitches
From mound to plate, the ball hurled by its stitches.
Growing impatient to mount and ride,
Now he swatted his spikes from the side.
Into the box strode one Jared Banner.
Now he gazed in a determined manner,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth
And turned and tightened his batting glove girth.
But mostly he watched with eager search
The pitcher, a tower, preparing to lurch
As an arm was raised on the thrower’s hill,
Lonely and spectral and somber and still.
And lo! As he looks, the pitch takes its flight
A glimmer, and then, a stream of white!
He springs into stride, his lumber soon turns.
A line drive toward the outfield he burns.
A hurry of hoofs in a blurry beat,
Led by his spikes churning fearless and fleet,
A shape in the sunlight, a shot in the park,
And beneath, from the baseline, in passing, a spark -
That was all! And yet, through the shadows and light
The fate of the Jeffs was riding his flight.
He bolted home plate and mounted the steep
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep
On the diamond, sparkling like emerald tides
Is heard the tramp of the kid as he glides.
It was four p.m. by the chapel clock,
When he came to first base, nearly losing his sock,
And the scurrying Bantams, albeit aware,
Take aim at a relay with no time to spare.
The breath of the breeze blowing strong at his back
On to third base he streaks off with a crack.
Who on this day could gun down Jared Banner?
Not on your life by the best Bantam planner.
You know the rest, on the Web you have read:
How the throw landed high in a green leafy bed,
How that Banner did spring to his feet like a stallion,
And galloped on home to accept the medallion,
A conference title by 8-7 win,
A scrum of teammates, a deafening din.
So through the years they’ll long celebrate
And so through the nights they’ll remember and rate
The greatest of plays, and the one they’ll rehash:
The now famous story of Banner’s mad dash
In the hour of glory, his gorgeous blast
Through all our history, down to the last
The ones who were there, who whistled and cheered
As he sped round the bases like one Paul Revere
They will never forget that wondrous hammer
And the 10th inning run of Jared Banner.