Oh, somewhere in this wretched land clouds fill the sky ,
Somewhere violence abounds and many a bullet fly;
Oh, somewhere men are arguing and somewhere children pout,
But there is joy at Thunderdome, Kid K hit it out.
The Mighty Casey should have been so lucky.
Then again, Casey didn't pen his own ending to the Mudville tale.
Brentwood School outfielder Malcolm Heinicke, alias Kid K, did, and his poetry, like his future, doesn't include striking out in baseball or any other pursuit.
"Malcolm is not a baseball stud," said Brentwood baseball Coach Steve Jesson. "He's a baseball hero ."
Studs are the players who single-handedly lead their team to an undefeated season. Heinicke instead was merely the prodding force behind the Eagles' drive to a 12-6 season mark and runner-up finish in the Delphic Leagues. The right fielder put up impressive numbers: 21 runs batted in, five homers, four triples, 17 runs scored, 17 walks and only one strikeout. He batted .452 and led the team in every hitting department.
But as far as being an official baseball standout, Heinicke barely qualifies. It's in the classroom where the 17-year-old senior is heroic.
"When you talk to Malcolm, it's like talking to an adult," said Brentwood instructor John Hutson. "He has exceptional knowledge and understanding of history and government."
Indeed, Heinicke plans a career in politics. Unless baseball gets in the way.
He will attend Harvard University in the fall. Great for a person's suit-and-tie future, but Malcolm is quick to remind you that the Crimson also play baseball.
"And I would be very disappointed if I didn't play at Harvard," Heinicke adds.
His romance with the game started in T-ball at age 3 and runs its roots deep into the fabric of baseball.
"Malcolm loves the smell of the grass, stretching in the sun in uniform, the sound of the ball off the bat," Jesson said. "He walks on the field looking like a baseball player. He knows what to say and what to do. He just loves the game."
Jesson points out a picture on the wall of Heinicke and Eagle catcher Josh Chetwynd in full uniform, laughing and relaxed. The photo was taken during football season, so that Heinicke could have a baseball picture in his senior yearbook. Baseball comes too late in the school year to be added to the book.
"It was important to Malcolm to have a baseball picture with his buddy. Not many people are into baseball like that," Jesson said.
The game even follows him home, where a recording on Heinicke's answering machine promises that he will "get back to you in time or see you on the diamond."
That addiction to the game helped Heinicke pile up good numbers and keep his team's clubhouse full of victory celebrations.
But thousands of high school players rack up stats equal to or better than Heinicke's. And the Eagles play in a private school league where textbooks take shelf priority over score books.
"What sets him apart," Hutson said, "is that many people exercise skill and discipline in athletics, but how many do that in the classroom and think they can be President?"
"Yes, I would like to be President someday," said Heinicke, straight-faced. One look at his pin-striped shirt, tie and suspenders and the sentence begins to linger in one's mind, then sinks in.
"He really wants to be President, and he just might be," Jesson said. "He is going places, and baseball is just going to be a part of his package, his resume, wherever he goes."
His first stop will be American Legion and Babe Ruth baseball league play for the summer. Then it's on to Cambridge and tryouts for Harvard's freshmen squad--or possibly the debate team.
"Those are the two things (baseball and academics) I do with all of my heart. I would like to keep doing both as long and as well as I can," Heinicke says.
By now everyone knows President Bush was once a Yale first baseman and captain. He let go of one passion.
Kid K hopes to repeat those feats, but he wouldn't be disappointed if his office was a diamond instead of an oval.