Greetings from Peoria, Arizona.
If you haven’t heard by now (and it’s hard to imagine you haven’t), Will Ferrell will be playing for the Seattle Mariners today as well as nine other teams over the course of a five-game schedule that takes him all over the valley here in Phoenix. This is part of a film project with Ferrell’s Funny or Die website and in conjunction with Major League Baseball that will be aired on HBO.
Basically, the project is to honor and recreate the feat of Bert Campaneris, who played all nine positions in a game for the Kansas City Athletics against the California Angels on Sept. 8, 1965. This project is also honoring “the fight against cancer” with most of the proceeds earned going to a variety of charities, including Cancer for College and Stand Up to Cancer.
Ferrell’s interpretation of Campaneris’ feat will be a little different. He plans to play all nine positions on the field, and maybe a few other positions (manager, umpire) off the field over the course of five games on Thursday with appearances with all 10 teams. Here’s the schedule:
- 12:05 p.m. Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics (HoHoKam Stadium)
- 1:10 p.m. Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Tempe Diablo Stadium)
- 2:10 p.m. Cincinnati Reds at Arizona Diamondbacks (Salt River Fields at Talking Stick)
- 4:05 p.m. San Francisco Giants at Chicago White Sox (Camelback Ranch)
- 6:15 p.m. Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres (Peoria Stadium)
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Manager Lloyd McClendon said that Ferrell will play second base and will replace Willie Bloomquist in the bottom of the second inning. For those worried about Bloomquist getting his spring work in, he will re-enter the game when Ferrell is done.
Ferrell has already arrived in Mesas to the A’s complex.
To be realistic, this is a distraction for teams and manager trying to prepare for the season.
Is it a huge distraction? No. It certainly isn’t going to affect the team’s performance this season. And it’s for a very good cause.
“It is for a good cause,” McClendon said. “We’ll get through it. It’s just a little bump in the road, but what he’s doing is for a good charity and a lot of folks have been touched by this. We’re all for it.”
Obviously having this done on the first spring game of the season – the charity game against the Padres – might be more ideal, but that’s not how things always work.
“It would have been better to try and get things done,” McClendon said. “But I get it, I understand it. I understand why we are doing it. We’ll just try and get through it with no hiccups and hopefully everybody comes through it fine.”
Asked how they acquired Ferrell, McClendon replied, “We traded a dozen pens.”
Other notes …
*** Rickie Weeks had some hamstring tightness and was taken out of the game early yesterday.
“It was for precautionary measures,” McClendon said. “We just didn’t want to take a chance. I will not play him today, but I expect him to be right back out there.”
*** Hisashi Iwakuma will throw four innings in his simulated game today on the back fields. Because of the early start and the trip across the valley to Mesa, McClendon (or the media) won’t be able to watch it. Pitching coach Rick Waits will be there to monitor Iwakuma.
*** Felix Hernandez will throw three or four innings in a sim game on Sunday against the Dodgers.
*** Nelson Cruz will play right field today for the first time this spring. McClendon knows Cruz can play the outfield based on his past, but he still needs to get him some reps.
“I’m confident he can play the outfield,” McClendon said. “But he needs to be out there some. I’m trying to be as smart as I can be with this. We’ll get him some time out there to keep him sharp, but at the same time to keep him healthy this spring. I don’t have a number, but he’ll be out there a few more times for sure.”
Here’s my story on Danny Hultzen’s one inning of relief and the importance of it to him and the organization.
Here’s my story on James Paxton throwing his live BP and more notes on the Ferrell appearance
Here’s some power rankings from ESPN based on the future of each organization.
Great job by Kelly Munro with her Will Ferrell themed game notes