The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0433 Thursday, 11 May 2006
Date: Wednesday, 10 May 2006 06:54:20 -0600
An unusual baseball-Shakespeare confluence is reported in Howard
Bryant's earnest history of baseball in the 1990s called Juicing the
Game (Viking, 2005). Scholars of a certain age will remember that Jim
Bouton's Ball Four (1970) was a very good baseball book. It was written
from the player's perspective, and, if memory serves, neither
sensationalized nor glamorized professional athletics. But Ball Four
did not make Bouton's colleagues happy. "Bouton revealed to the world
what most everyone in baseball already knew, and what most people
outside it suspected: Players took amphetamines.... They had girls in
different cities." Ball Four sold two million copies but Bouton himself
was ostracized and eventually harassed out of baseball. Juicing the
Game recalls that sometime after Ball Four appeared, Bouton was "on the
mound against Cincinnati... when he heard the voice of Pete Rose
bellowing from the top step of the dugout, "Fuck you, Shakespeare"
(195). Literary criticism is only rarely so explicit.
Are there other instances in which the epithet "Shakespeare" has been
employed as a term of derogation?
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