Smile of the Day

Life is getting much too serious, yes? Who doesn't need a daily smile?




Tuesday, July 1

The Shakespearean Baseball Game

A Comedy of Errors, Hits, and Runs
- Wayne & Shuster

The Persons of the Play
  • Manager
  • Rocky, captain and bat catcher of Stratford
  • Richard
  • Rusty
  • Sam
  • Bill
  • Sandy
  • Macduff
  • Harry
  • Joe
  • Pete
  • Umpire 1
  • Umpire 2

Bosworth Field
(A Baseball Stadium Near Stratford)

[Enter Two Umpires]

Umpire 2: Hail Granato!
Umpire 1: I give you greeting, Antonio.
Thou hast the starting lineups?
Umpire 2: Ay. The batting orders duly signed
By managers both.
Umpire 1: 'Tis well.
What o'clock ist?
Umpire 2: 'Tis at the stroke of two.

[Trumpets sound]

Umpire 1: Hark! The players come.
To our appointed places shall we go,
You at first and I behind the plate.
This game depends on how you make your call.
Farewell! until you hear me cry "Play ball!"

[Enter The Players]

Manager: My excellent good friends, may fortune smile
Upon our enterprise this day. As manager
Of this most valiant club, I swear by all
That's holy in our game I shall not rest
Until the pennant over Stratford flies!
Players: Hooray!
Richard: Most noble manager.
Manager: Who calls?
Richard: 'Tis I, Richard.
Manager: Speak, o faithful Richard.
Richard: I pray you, tell us,
How does the starting lineup go?
Manager: 'Tis as it was before
With Harry, Joe, and Pete out in the field.
Rusty.
Rusty: Sire!
Manager: Thou at the shortstop's spot shall play.
And you three guarding your accustomed bags:
Sam the first, Bill the second, and Richard the third.
And as for you most noble Sandy.
Sandy: Sire!
Manager: Hie thee to the bullpen, so
That if our pitcher from his box is knocked,
You shall go upon the mound and take his place.
Sandy: I go! [Exit Sandy]
Manager: For this relief, much thanks!
Rusty: Most noble manager, a word.
Manager: Speak, o faithful Rusty.
Rusty: Where is the captain
Of our team, the mighty Rocky,
The man whom all the sports reporters call
The noblest catcher of them all?
Manager: Alas, the mighty Rocky sits
In yonder locker room and mopes, and well he might,
For in these last ten games he has not hit the ball,
Not even once. Yes, hitless has he gone,
And twenty times has been called out on strikes.
But soft, he comes. [Enter Rocky, reading a book]
To think he led the league in RBIs,
And now he reads the record book, and cries.
Rocky: O, what a rogue and bush league slob am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Should gaze upon the record book and find
That he is ten games hitless gone? O, cursèd fate,
That I, who led the league, should bat .208.
A hit, a hit, my kingdom for a hit!
Once more, to hear the welcome crack of bat
Upon the ball, and then to run for first,
To second, then to third, and then to dig
For home. To slide, slide, slide! [Slides, then reaches for backside] Ay, there's the rub.
There's a divinity who shapes her ends.
Umpire 1: Play ball!
Manager: The game begins!
Rocky: Pitchers, catchers, shortstops, lend me your ears;
The game begins and we must win.
Manager: And win we shall. All hail Stratford!
Players: All hail Stratford!
Manager: A manager's blessing upon you all.
And for your captain, noble Rocky,
Give me your hand.
Rocky: 'Tis gladly given.
Manager: Play well, valiant captain, and remember
Today's game is being televisèd.
Rocky: Televisèd?
Manager: And the TV shall record each passing play.
Rocky: TV, or not TV: that is not the question,
We shall play with might and main!
Players: Hooray!

* * *

Rusty: How goes the game?
Manager: Not well. 'Tis bottom of the ninth, with one away,
And they do lead us by a score of one
To nothing. Who's next to bat?
Macduff: 'Tis I, Macduff.
Ready am I to do thy bidding, sire.
Manager: Then take thee thy bat and hie thee to the plate.
Macduff: I go! [Exit Macduff. Enter Rocky]
Rocky: How goes it, cousin?
Manager: Our chances dim with every pitch.
'Tis one away; Macduff is at the plate.
Rocky: Lay on, Macduff!
And watch out for that breaking stuff! [A crack of the bat]
Manager: A hit, a hit, a very palpable hit!
Umpire 1: Foul ball!
Manager: Foul ball? He called that foul?
A plague upon him. That ball was fair!
Rocky: Fair it was indeed. You, sirrah, that ball was fair!
Umpire 1: That ball was foul!
Rocky: So fair a foul I have not seen!
Ancient knave with heart as black as coat you wear upon your back,
get thee a pair of glasses, get thee to an optometrist!
Umpire 1: [Hollers unintelligibly]
Rocky: I would the gods had made thee more poetical.
Umpire 1: [Hollers unintelligibly]

* * *

Manager: Now is the summer of our discontent.
'Tis two away. Just one more chance do we have
To win the game. Who's next?
Rocky: 'Tis I.
Manager: 'Tis you?
Rocky: Merry, 'tis.
Manager: Then go my friend with aid divine
And hit that Pepsi-Cola sign. [Exit Rocky]
See how the valiant Rocky stands at the plate,
Like a mighty colossus, the bat resting
Gently off his shoulder. But soft,
Here is the wind-up,here is the pitch. [Pitch hits Rocky in the head]
Oh no, I cannot look, the sight doth sear my eyes.
Rusty: The ball did strike his head.The pitcher beanèd him!
Manager: He comes this way. I cannot look.
O, what a noble mind is o'erthrown.
Rocky: [Picks up bat catchers mask]Ah! Alas, poor Durocher, I knew him.
A man of infinite lip. Hail to thee, sweet nymph. [Picks up bats]
I would have brought thee violets, but they withered.
Manager: O horrors! Not only hitless, but witless.
Rocky: Two outs, damp spot. Life is but a walking shadow,
A poor player who hits and bunts this weary hour upon the field,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale told
By an umpire, full of sound and fury,
Signifying one-nothing. [Falls down unconscious]
Manager: Now cracks a noble head.
Good night sweet catcher. Flights of shortstops
Sing thee to thy rest. Let four bonus players
Bear Rocky like a soldier to the dugout. [Players lift Rocky]
No more shall Stratford see him play ball;
I'm trading the bum to Montreal.

[Exeunt, with a flourish of Bat-boys]

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