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Boocock's House of Baseball Hits it Straight Up the Center

Whenever you combine theater and politics, you can easily draw the assumption to which political viewpoint the play will favor. However, Boocock's House of Baseball surprisingly hits a line drive straight up the center. Okay, so maybe the left fielder comes in a little to offer his assistance, but the bottom line is that the center fielder makes the play. Boocock's House of Baseball is a refreshing opportunity to hear a point of view that is not entirely about bashing our elected president.



Paul Boocock performs in his one-man show where he compares baseball to democracy and let's the audience draw its own conclusion about the state of the union today. 



Boocock's House of Baseball Hits it Straight Up the CenterBoocock enters the stage dressed as an average man, as if walking in off the street to begin his baseball and political comparison in a way near and dear to every New Yorker's heart. He jumps into the 2001 post season and aptly describes "The Play" made by Derek Jeter in the Divisional Series against the Oakland A's. Like the play-by-play man sitting in the broadcast booth, Boocock describes every motion and every step taken in such verbal and visual detail that you find your mind rewinding back to that exact moment of watching in disbelief. "The Play" that Jeter made seemed to be the boost of confidence that the Yankees and New York needed and radiated to all of America that the ghosts of Yankees past were on "our" side, when a bruised New York needed it most. As so poetically put by Boocock, "…it seemed that New York was still alive…and that the world united between New York, Jeter and America."



Boocock then abruptly breaks the euphoria by pointing out that since George W. Bush has been in office, the Yankees haven't won a World Series. That's where the comparisons begin. Baseball is a democracy because it's a team effort. According to Boocock, the varying opinions and people in the game run a constant parallel with the varying players and opinions in the political arena; one of whom, i.e. President Bush, has had influence in both. 



Boocock draws his comparative line to the likes of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Reggie Jackson, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and even to the recent ridicule of Jason Giambi. He claims that today's state of baseball is derived from the power performance of the Babe. The Babe helped create a mindset in baseball that bigger is better and more balls flying out of the park will sell more tickets. In baseball, and in government, numbers are everything. From batting averages to Electoral College votes, the bottom line to any curve that baseball or politics throws at you is value. Numbers are the concrete evidence to prove your worth and if they aren't as good as they were last year, you can count yourself as out. The value of the players in both politics and baseball is a constant theme that Boocock challenges you to think about throughout the show.



However, what's interesting and delighting about watching Boocock perform is that he effortlessly manages to takes you down a path so far away from politics that you forget what the play is really about. Boocock consistently goes on tangents throughout the show and somehow duplicates the same feel as Family Guy or Arrested Development all by himself. He works sidebars into his monologue which have no pertinence to the story such as a re-enactment of Darryl Strawberry's partying days that you soon find yourself, much like a baseball, in stitches. While you can barely contain your laughter, that's when Boocock unknowingly throws you back to the point of the play and how those baseball moments relate to today's political landscape.



Boocock's performance is worth noting as he supplies a play with content that appeals to a broad audience. Broadway enthusiasts and sports lovers alike should come out to see this show. He finds the correct balance between respectful political bashing and having fun. Whether you personally agree or disagree with the viewpoints of President Bush, you cannot honestly say that he is an "evil" man in the true meaning of the word – and that's what Boocock taps into. He has hope in Bush to make the right decision despite a shaky track record. He brings a point of view, all be it an optimistic one, that too often is easily forgotten. He hopes and trusts that our President will make smart, well thought out choices and doesn't claim that someone else could have done it better. There was enough mean spirited theatrical political bashing from both sides of the spectrum last year. Boocock instead re-directs your political fervor into a new direction and has fun while doing it. He mocks the obvious but provides hope as well.



In Boocock's characteristic way, he eloquently sums up the show by saying, "If baseball survived W, then so can we."


Boocock's House of Baseball is playing Thursday - Saturday at 9pm at the Flea Theater on 41 White Street until July 23rd. Please call 212-352-3101 for tickets.

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From This Author Amanda Scarpone

Enthralled with the "Great White Way" from the time she was a young girl, Amanda Scarpone knew the performing arts was where she belonged. Finding (read more...)

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