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Baseball is America’s pastime. The sport we all know and love goes way back in time. August Wilson saw how baseball played a huge factor in breaking down the color barrier and he used baseball to send that message in his play, Fences. August Wilson wrote ten plays about African-American history during the twentieth century and Fences was the sixth in the ten-part cycle. Fences were shown during the nineteen fifties. The play builds on the theme of Race and change in society and incorporates baseball as a metaphor and an important key plot. The play mainly focuses on, Troy Maxson and his family. Troy Maxson grew up in a segregated period without a family and he was a baseball player. Troy has two sons one is named Lyons and was born when Troy was nineteen and he had a son named Cory with his wife named Rose. Baseball is the most meaningful metaphor in August Wilson’s play, Fences because baseball represents Troy’s problems.

Baseball was a key factor in Troy’s life and he uses baseball as an excuse to cover up his mistakes. When Troy was at the height of his baseball career, the color barrier wasn’t broken yet so he was denied playing professionally. According to Troy, the only reason he got denied playing was because of his race, not his age. When Rose states that Troy was too old to play professionally, he retaliates saying, “What do you mean too old? Don’t come telling me I was too old. I just wasn’t the right color. Hell, I’m fifty-three years old and can do better than Selkirk’s .269 right now! (Wilson 39). Troy feels the need to use race as an excuse instead of admitting to himself the truth. His comparison to George Selkirk, a New York Yankees player, demonstrates that he wants to show everyone that he is good enough to play professionally. Troy still stuck on the past starts comparing major league pitching and the negro league pitching to Cory. Troy states, “We had better pitching in the Negro Leagues. I hit seven home runs off of Satchel Paige. You can’t get any better than that! (Wilson 34). Since baseball was such a big influence on Troy’s life, he still talks about his missed opportunity to play professional baseball. Troy uses his race so he doesn’t listen to the truth.

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Before the play is over Troy starts to use baseball metaphors for death and to justify his actions. When Troy broke the news of his affair to Rose, he used his baseball terms to excuse his behavior. During the argument Troy states, “And I got to thinking that if I tried … I just might be able to steal a second. Do you understand after eighteen years I wanted to steal a second… I stood on first base for eighteen years and I thought… well, goddamn it… go on for it! (Wilson 70). Troy uses this baseball metaphor to demonstrate how safe he has been the past eighteen years and he should “steal second” by doing something wild. Troy uses “first base” to explain how he is stuck and that the only way out is to “go on for it” and abandon the first base. Troy refuses to admit he was in the wrong so he uses baseball to cover his actions. This plays into Troy’s personality of ignorance and refusal to admit defeat. During the play, Troy makes references to death and how he wins against death every time he faces it. While talking about being faced with death Troy states, “That’s all death is to me. A fastball on the outside corner” (Wilson 9). Troy resembles death as a pitch he can easily score a home run. In Troy’s mind, death is something he is not afraid of and he can overcome it. Even though Troy doesn’t play baseball anymore, he still approaches life as if he was still playing.

Some may say a fence is the most meaningful metaphor but they are wrong, a baseball is the most meaningful because Baseball is more than a sport, it is a way of life. Baseball was the biggest influence in Troy’s life and it was the base of his personality. When Cory told Troy about how he could play football in college, this led to a major argument between the pair. Cory stands up to his father by using the jealousy card and how Troy did not have a chance. Troy using a baseball metaphor then says, “That’s strike one. See, you in the batter’s box now. You swung and you missed. That’s strike one. Don’t you strike out” (Wilson 58). Troy connects baseball with pain and so when Cory brought up how He didn’t succeed it provoked an emotional response in Troy. Since Cory is on “strike one” that symbolizes that Troy saw him mess up but is still giving him chances to reclaim himself. When Troy says, “Don‘t you strike out” to Cory it shows that there are consequences for his actions. As the play continues, the relationship between Troy and Cory decreases and it is very rocky. During a fight between Troy and Rose, Cory senses the tension and grabs Troy to protect his mother. As Troy is exiting the yard he says, “Alright. That’s strike two. You stay away from around me, boy. Don’t you strike out. You living with a full count. Don’t you strike out” (Wilson 72). August Wilson uses the phrase “you living with a full count” to portray how Cory is barely hanging on and when he “strikes out” he will be punished. The use of “strikes” shows how Troy’s parenting decisions were based on his past by using baseball.

Baseball best represents Troy’s problems in fences and proves it is the most meaningful metaphor. A baseball can be used to represent more than just a sport to someone it can be a force that builds their character. In Troy’s life baseball was the driving factor in his personality and he uses baseball as an excuse as to why his life is never changing. Troy does not like change and in the end, everyone has changed and Troy is left behind. Troy was so focused on the past and never accepted that times had changed and his child could play sports or go to college.

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