It’s the time of year when literary academics and middle school English teachers celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday. We don’t know the exact date of birth for the immortal Bard, so this week (roughly April 23rd) will do. As an English teacher myself, I’ll celebrate by teaching my students A Midsummer Night’s Dream before I head home and take a load off by watching my nightly baseball game. You can see how these two things have been on my mind lately. Thus, here are the 2024 MLB teams as Shakespeare plays.


Los Angeles Dodgers – Macbeth

It’s fierce, it’s bloody, it’s gonna whoop your ass. Macbeth is the story of a fierce fighter and his fiery wife and their quest for power as they ascend the throne. Unfortunately, it’s also about how power corrupts and the devastation that can be left behind as a result of that attempt at domination. That sounds just like this year’s Dodgers. They spent over $1.2 billion this past offseason in their quest for total domination of the baseball world. Will the devastation left in their wake be the aging (and expensive) 2032 team? Have they screwed themselves in a quest for supremacy? It’ll take some years to find out, but we know how it ended for the Macbeths.

I would also like to add that Macbeth is known for the “Weird Sisters,” the three witches who warn Macbeth of his future. The Dodgers’ three witches are the three guys at the bottom of their lineup: Kiké Hernandez (.496 OPS), Chris Taylor (.260 OPS), and Gavin Lux (.388 OPS). That’s scarier than any double double toil and trouble that I can think of.


Kansas City Royals – Henry VI, Part II

You are probably thinking, “Jeez, can this guy tone it down a little bit? It’s only his second pick and he’s already referencing a Midwest team and perhaps the most obscure Shakespeare play! Can he be any more of a nerd?” You are correct on all fronts, but I will not tone it down because this comparison is excellent.

Both picks are oft-overlooked non-marquee names, but they’re both sneaky good. The Royals have been a laughingstock for a decade. However, a few months ago they realized, “Wait a minute, the American League Central sucks. If we cared, even just a little bit, about fielding a competitive team we might make the playoffs?” They’re now 13-9, and franchise faces like Bobby Witt Jr., Salvador Perez, and Vinnie Pasquantino are all off to great starts. And they’ve got one of the top-5 team ERAs in all of baseball. Don’t underestimate them.

Meanwhile, Henry VI Part II is never going to sell out theatres. In fact, many classical theatres have to rename it something like “The War of the Roses” or “The Rise of Queen Margaret” to trick people – if they do it at all. That’s a shame because it completely stands on its own, is one of Shakespeare’s better history plays, and deserves some love that it will never get.


Baltimore Orioles – Romeo & Juliet

R&J, as we all know, is a story about youthful ambition and the struggles that come with an inherent misunderstanding of one’s maturity. Does that sound a lot like the 2023 Orioles? A team with a fire in their belly and pep in their step from Opening Day? Yes. But their violent delights had violent ends. Completely unprepared for a playoff run, the Os got swept by the future champ Rangers. They looked lost, embarrassed, and completely out of place.

However, these Baby Birds have only gotten younger. They lost a couple of thirty-somethings in Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks, and Adam Frazier, replacing them with guys like Jackson Holliday and Colton Cowser. Plus, they’ve got a handful of supremely talented guys position-blocked and stuck in AAA. It’s a prospect embarrassment of riches. Let’s just hope that they can learn from Romeo and Juliet and slow down, not get too excited, and stay away from the poison. 

Plus, just take a look at the official headshots for HollidayGunnar HendersonAdley RutschmanHeston KjerstadKyle StowersDean Kremer, and Seth Johnson – and tell me this isn’t the same group of guys you see auditioning to play Romeo at every community college in this country. 


Houston Astros – King Lear

King Lear is a play about an aging patriarch whose kingdom goes to hell when he chooses to retire and pass it all on to his children. Doesn’t that sound like Dusty Baker’s departure from Houston? We all know where the Astros were right before Dusty came on – embarrassed and illegitimate. In the wake of their cheating scandal, they needed someone with a clean record and a respected resume to help with their image problem. He did so much more than that, winning .586% of their games, a couple of pennants, and their only genuine World Series victory. 

However, Dusty was old and his time for retirement came this past offseason. Since then, the team has sucked. Last-place-in-a-miserable-division sucked. And here’s the thing: this happens when Dusty leaves a team. His 2017 Nationals won 97 games, and they only won 82 the next year after he was let go. The same thing happened after his 2013 Reds won 90 games, going 76-86 in 2014 which kicked off five consecutive losing seasons. The Astros are currently on pace to win 49 games after replacing Dusty internally (inheritance style) with former bench coach Joe Espada. 


Atlanta Braves – Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is a jovial comedy, and one of Shakespeare’s best. The Braves are currently, and will be for a long time, one of the league’s best teams. Vibes are good and spirits are high.

But here’s why Twelfth Night over other Shakespearean comedies: it’s a play largely about death. Olivia’s brother has died, and she has entered a seven-year period of morning. Viola has been shipwrecked, and her twin brother Sebastian believes she is dead. But somehow, everyone just spends the entire play trying to bonk each other.

Spencer Strider going down for the year is the undercurrent of death on this otherwise jolly team. Strider already had Tommy John surgery in 2019 and, although he was able to avoid another date with TJ with this UCL injury, he still won’t pitch again in 2024. Elbow issues are now a bigger and bigger issue in the sport, becoming a complete epidemic in Major League Baseball. On top of the fact that we are missing out on the sport’s biggest superstars, these athletes are losing prime years in their careers again and again. The Braves might feel okay without Strider, but what about when this happens to another guy next year and another guy the year after that? 

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