Friday, January 24, 2014

The Quality of Mercy and A-Rod

Weis, Lonnie, dev. and prod. Hidden Shakespeare Trick. Perf. Seattle Mariners, incl. Alex Rodriguez. Circa 1997.

A little while ago, Shakespeare Geek alerted his Twitter Followers (SGTFs—if you're not one, why don't you become one?) to a Shakespeare-related commercial put out by the Seattle Mariners.

On one level, the commercial is very clever in a new trick to play on a base runner. Instead of pretending to throw the ball back to the pitcher and waiting for the runner on second to step off the bag to tag him out, Shakespeare is used instead.

With the news of Alexander Rodriguez, a.k.a. A-Rod, being suspended from Major League Baseball for one year, the commercial accretes a new line of thought. In the commercial, A-Rod uses Portia's "Quality of Mercy" speech to distract the runner. Could it have occurred to A-Rod to try the same speech on Bud Selig?

I also find the reaction of the ersatz Red Sox player interesting. He seems both knowledgeable and willing to hear Shakespeare, and he appreciates the speech so much that he becomes lost in a reverie. Even though, as a Cardinals fan, I have a complicated relationship with the Red Sox, I admire this player. Even though he was tagged out, he wasn't tricked by something as simple as the hidden ball trick. He was—as who among us has not?—distracted by the words of Shakespeare.

Ain't Shakespeare great?

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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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