As mentioned elsewhere, Pop Fisher represents the Arthurian figure of "The Fisher King." He is the ailing king with the strange, inexplicable illness—athlete's foot of the hands—and his health is tied to that of the land. Without the novel's version of the Holy Grail (the pennant), Pop can never be truly healed. While the team is in last place, their field is dead and dry, as if from a drought; the players are all depressed; and even the dugout water is unfit for drinking. Upon Roy's first hit, however, the clouds burst, and within minutes the field is drenched as it proceeds to rain for three straight days. Pop's hands clear up and his health improves as the Knights do better and better. The jeering crowds are replaced by cheering ones, and the whole city becomes wrapped up in the joy of their team, led by the unstoppable Roy. But Malamud is a realist, and though Roy is modeled on Sir Perceval, he is not destined to have the same success. Roy fails, and Pop, the Fisher King, is left with his Waste Land.