Perhaps, bear with me for a second, you may have noticed that yesterday Will Ferrell played 10 positions for 10 different teams in the Cactus League. Maybe you saw this if you use social media. Maybe. Whatever your opinion on Ferrell’s big day on the diamond, the stunt raised over $1 million for cancer research.
So yeah, we live in a world where everyone has an opinion on an actor playing baseball in Spring Training. That includes, bizarrely enough, former NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden. The Hall of Famer was a guest on the KCBS morning radio show and the topic of Ferrell came up. The man who brought us so much unbridled joy via the turkducken, didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor or appreciate Ferrell’s stunt.
“That’s a lack of respect. That’s a lack of respect for the game and a [lack of] respect for what players have to do to get where they are.”
Man … your heart dies a little bit inside when Madden evokes the “respect the game card” when we’re talking about Spring Training.
Madden does have some experience in the subject, at least. Via CBS, Madden related a story from his days coaching the Raiders when Rick Barry wanted to come out to training camp at the behest of his friend, the late Al Davis.
“I’m in training camp in Santa Rosa. Rick Barry comes walking by and he was playing for the Warriors at that time. He was a friend of Al Davis’ and he said he was going to go in and suit up and go out on the field and practice, to fool Al. I swear this is true,” Madden said. “Jack Tatum and George Atkinson walked by and I said, look, if this guy comes out on the field, he’s live bait and I want you to go after him the way you would go after any other player that plays on another team. I said, go ahead and dress, but we’re going to treat you like a football player and not like an NBA player.”
Madden aside, talking with Stephen this morning about this he brought up a valid point. If baseball, at least in some cases, is so hung up on decorum and playing the “right” way — take Joe Maddon’s thoughts on pimping home runs earlier this week — it’s a bit hypocritical that everyone in MLB is cheering Ferrell’s stunt. As always the rules of baseball, written or unwritten remain awfully confusing. Even something so simple as eating lunch can cause a disturbance.
Who knew we’d now have Will Ferrell baseball takes? (Actually, sadly, it’s not all that surprising. Sigh.) Someone must have enjoyed it, since it was a trending Twitter topic throughout the day, although many equally loathed it and wished Ferrell would get off the proverbial shed.
Either way, what a time to be alive.
As we know, the best entertainer turned Spring Training ballplayer is Garth Brooks.
[via Big League Stew]