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Seven times when William Shakespeare was totally talking about baseball

Today is (kind of) William Shakespeare's birthday! According to historical record, the Bard was baptized on April 26, 1564. The custom of the day was to baptize newborns three days following their birth, so April 23 is as close of an approximation as we can get for Bill's actual DOB.

In honor of this important day (the man invented the word "puking", after all), we thought we'd delve into the Canon and show how, despite living his life some 300 years before baseball was invented, Shakespeare truly understood the American Pastime.

Rosalind -- As You Like It -- Act V, Scene ii


For your brother and my sister no sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed, no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason, no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage which they will climb incontinent, or else be incontinent before marriage: they are in the very wrath of love and they will together; clubs cannot part them.

While this conversation between heroine Rosalind and her love-interest Orlando is seemingly about his brother's relationship with Celia (Rosalind's cousin who is disguised as her sister -- Shakespeare is confusing), it's also clearly about Matt Harvey and Freddie Freeman , for clubs cannot part them either:


Titus -- Titus Andronicus -- Act III, Scene i


O happy man! they have befriended thee.
Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive
That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?
Tigers must prey, and Rome affords no prey
But me and mine; how happy art thou then
From these devourers to be banished!

Ah, yes -- Titus (who's had a pretty rough day) is seen here speaking to any and all hitters who manage to escape the AL Central's defending champs:




Edmund -- King Lear -- Act V, Scene iii


In wisdom I should ask thy name;
But since thy outside looks so fair and warlike,
And that thy tongue some say of breeding breathes,
What safe and nicely I might well delay
By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn.
Back do I toss those treasons to thy head;
With the hell-hated lie o'erwhelm thy heart;
Which- for they yet glance by and scarcely bruise-
This sword of mine shall give them instant way
Where they shall rest for ever. Trumpets, speak.

Edmund speaks these lines just before going into battle with his brother Edgar. Oh, right, I get it:



Speed and Valentine -- Two Gentlemen of Verona -- Act II, Scene i

SPEED. Sir, your glove.

VALENTINE. Not mine: my gloves are on.

SPEED. Why, then, this may be yours; for this is but one.

VALENTINE. Ha! let me see; ay, give it me, it's mine.

Spoiler alert: it's not his, because people traditionally don't own three gloves. But Speed and Valentine are goofballs and don't realize this until later in the scene.

Interestingly, baseball players regularly require the use of three gloves in a game -- two for batting and one for fielding. Thus, a modern production could ground this bit of clownish nonsense in some reality with the right casting choices. Might I humbly suggest fellow goofballs Juan Uribe and Hyun-Jin Ryu ?


Hamlet -- Hamlet -- Act I, Scene iv

HORATIO. Look, my lord, it comes!

HAMLET. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane. O, answer me?

The "it" Horatio is referring to is the ghost of Hamlet's father. Heavy stuff. Thus, it's interesting that Hamlet's first thought is to seek out the defense of Angels. That impulse, however, makes more sense once you've viewed these GIFs:




Norfolk -- Henry VIII -- Act II, Scene ii


We had need pray, and heartily, for our deliverance;
Or this imperious man will work us an
From princes into pages. All men's honours
Lie like one lump before him, to be fashion'd
Into what pitch he please.

Is that a line from Henry VIII, or is it a scouting report about Clayton Kershaw? I'm not saying Shakespeare travelled through time to warn the NL West about the reigning Cy Young Award winner, but I'm also not not saying that.



Exeter -- Henry VI Part 1 -- Act V, Scene i


Henry the Fifth did sometime prophesy:
'If once he come to be a cardinal,
He'll make his cap co-equal with the crown.'

Member of the 500 home run club, two-time World Series Champion with the Cardinals, three-time National League MVP -- he may not be a Cardinal anymore, but Henry V's prophecy probably has something to do with this guy:


Have your own favorite line from Shakespeare that he clearly meant for baseball? Leave it for us in the comments.