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Choosing Sides

Baseball, they say, has changed a heap; I guess it has, in spots,
And yet I liked it better when we played it on the lots.
There were no signs for "hit and run," no dazzling "fadeaways";
We had no high-priced managers to tell us fancy plays.
No, we were just a lot of kids, with tanned and freckled hides;
There were no concrete grand stands when we played at "choosing sides."

I saw a ball game yesterday, and o'er a brass band's blare
The cheers of thirty thousand fans were soaring through the air.
The turnstiles had been clicking for three solid golden hours,
Recording wealth and profit for the big league baseball powers.
How soon we lose our play days! How swiftly childhood glides!
There were no clicking turnstiles when we played at "choosing sides."
The captains used to toss a bat, and then, hand over hand--
But why repeat a story every boy must understand?
Then came the careful picking--"I'll take Reddy." "Give me Flynn."
"I'll choose you, Skinny Murphy." "I'll take you, Pat McGinn."
They picked the live ones first, of course, and finished with the snides;
Feelings were often ruffled when we played at "choosing sides."

Dear reader, you'll remember, if you peek into the past,
The little four-eyed fellow that was always chosen last.
The little weak-kneed urchin that the captain would ignore
Until he found by counting, that he needed one man more.
He couldn't bat, he couldn't field, and yet that shrimp to-day
Is making laws in Congress, while his captain drives a dray.

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