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November 13, 2005

Roberto Clemente

I think that by explaining what Roberto Clemente dealt with really shows what the times were like back then and it gives you an idea of what Troy from "Fences" is talking about.

I really enjoyed this play. One of the reasons that I like it so much is that it makes a reference to one of my favorite baseball players of all time...Roberto Clemente. I know you may be thinking that this is irrelevant to talk about this man on my blog, but I assure you, I do have a point.

I think that by explaining what this man dealt with really shows what the times were like back then and it gives you an idea of what Troy from "Fences" is talking about.

CORY The Pirates won today. That makes five in a row.

TROY I ain't thinking about the Pirates. Got an all-white team. Got that boy...that Puerto Rican boy...Clemente. Don't even half-play him. That boy could be something if they give him a chance. Play him one day and sit him on the bench the next.

I wrote a report on Clemente in 9th grade. I always knew that he was a great player but I didn't know what he had to face in order to become that. Clemente was born in Puerto Rico and played baseball his whole life. American scouts spotted him and signed him to the Brooklyn Dodgers for a few years and then the Pittsburgh Pirates picked him up in the first pick of the draft. He was playing professional baseball in a time when immigrants were frowned upon and African Americans in the Major Leagues were scarce. However, Clemente was so good that they couldn't keep him off the field. He was voted MVP in the 1971 World Series and his statistics were unbeliebable (but we learned not to trust statistics right? lol). More on Clemente's career at robertoclemente21.com

Clemente was already on thin ice with the public because of his color. The language barrier didn't help much either. If anyone knows any history about Pittsburgh sports, than they know that the fans in Pittsburgh are extrememly harsh. If the don't like you then you are done. Well, Clemente played through all of that. They told him he wasn't good enough. They constantly would make fun of his speech and would mess up what he would say in the papers and on the radio on purpose. However, Clemente's perserverance through all of this is what lead him to be the great player that he was.

One thing that the press had to use against him was his complaining. He was a hypocondriach so he was always complaining about how he was hurt. Then, he would go out and play like nothing in the world could bother him.

He also had a good heart, which was the unfortunate cause of his death. It was Christmas eve and Nicaragua had just had a massive earthquake killing many people. He was on a plane taking medical, food and and clothing supplies to those who needed them and due to poor weather and having such a small plane, it crashed off the coast of Puerto Rico and Clemente's body was never found.

I think that this really relates to Troy and his thoughts of how everything was unfair. I think the August Wilson's referance to Clemente really shows that he was trying to make Troy's character hold onto the past and not accept change. Troy doesn't let Cody play get recruited in football partly because he's scared that he'll get hurt like he did.

TROY ...The white man ain't gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway. you go on and get your book-learning so you can work yourself up in that A&P or learn how to fix the cars or build houses or something, get you a trade.

CODY I get good grades, Pop. That's why the recruiter wants to talk with you.

Troy just can't let go of his beliefs. He's strong in his idea that sports can't get you anywhere because his dreams were crushed. He doesn't let Cody follow his true dreams even if his football could get him a way to college.

Posted by AndrewLoNigro at November 13, 2005 02:36 PM

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