Epideictic rhetoric and baseball: Nurturing community through controversy


The strategic management of public controversies has typically been understood to be the rhetorical domain of judicial and deliberative discourse, but anathema to epideictic. This paper, however, explores the role of epideictic rhetoric in the public controversy surrounding the lifetime ban of Pete Rose from the game of baseball. The author analyzes a press statement delivered by Major League Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti as a powerful example of epideictic rhetoric, one that served various functions for Giamatti and his audience. The author concludes that Giamattis’ statement to the press should not be seen as merely a “report” on a legal issue, but rather an eloquent and successful exercise in the rhetorical nurturance of community through public controversy. © 1995 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Publication Title

Southern Communication Journal