GLENDALE, Ariz. — It’s been 215 years since Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton held their famous duel in Weehawken, N.J. Their long and bitter rivalry ended with Burr famously shooting Hamilton to his death.
But Sunday, the history between these two enemies was re-written, in of all places, the spring training clubhouse of the Chicago White Sox, where a modern-day version of Burr and Hamilton mended fences, settled their differences and became friends in a show of unity.
“Today we rewrote history," White Sox pitcher Ryan Burr said. "We went back in time and revisited the duel and changed the outcome a little bit."
“We came together, it was all about unity at the end," fellow White Sox pitcher Ian Hamilton said. "That’s basically the moral of the story. Don’t fight each other. Come together."
The two relievers with the famous last names have been linked together since becoming teammates with the White Sox Class-A team in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 2017. Sunday, their job was to give the White Sox players, coaches, trainers and front office staff a lesson in U.S. history — and laughter.
Burr and Hamilton surprised everyone by walking into the clubhouse dressed as their namesakes, donning colonial era costumes.
“It was the Party City version of the closest we could find,” Hamilton said.
Burr put together a rough script for both of them to use. They each had a few talking points they wanted to convey to their teammates, many of whom had never heard the story and were probably wondering why Burr and Hamilton looked like they just came from a costume party.
“Nothing too serious, but we kind of winged it,” said Burr, who admitted that he first had to overcome a paralyzing bout of stage fright.
“I was more nervous than maybe I was in my major league debut,” Burr said. “I hate talking in front of people. I don’t know why. It gets me sometimes. I’m glad it’s over.”
Fortunately, this Burr had a friend he could count on in Hamilton.
“He was nervous. He was about to throw up before we were doing it,” Hamilton said. “I was telling him, ‘chill, chill, chill.’ It all ended up good. Lots of laughs.”
How do these two baseball players describe the events of that notorious duel from 1804?
“Hamilton and Burr were political rivals,” Burr explained. “Hamilton was talking smack about him throughout his political career and I think Aaron Burr eventually just had enough and said, you know what, let’s do something in the streets of New Jersey. It became a duel and he shot and killed Alexander Hamilton.”
“I survived for a little bit,” said Hamilton, still in character.
How long did you survive?
“Long enough to go to New York, and then I died.”
“Thanks Wikipedia,” added Burr.
For the record, Burr and Hamilton cannot take credit for this brilliant idea of spring training comedy and unity.
“It came from the higher levels of this organization. We’ll leave it at that for now,” Burr admitted. “They didn’t make us. They just hinted that it would be something that would be good for the team and the clubhouse. There was a gentle push towards doing a skit. We had fun. That’s all that matters.”
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