Yesterday afternoon in Arizona, Will Ferrell took over MLB's Spring Training for an HBO x Funny or Die special called #FerrellTakesTheField. Over the course of the day's Cactus League games, Ferrell played all nine positions (plus designated hitter) for the A's, Mariners, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Reds, White Sox, Giants, Dodgers, and last but not least, for the classiest city in America: the San Diego Padres. A helicopter lifted him from game to game to make sure he wouldn't miss an inning.
Sounds like a fun day at the ballpark for fans and Ferrell, right? Nah. At least that's how Hall of Fame coach and best-selling video game name John Madden thought of Ferrell's antics. "I hate it," he sniped.
Even before Ferrell took the field, Madden was on KCBS radio to hate on the entire concept, which as Madden's judgemental grumpy butt probably didn't know, was done to honor Bert Campaneris, the man who became the first player to play all nine positions in an MLB game, but also for a good cause—the upcoming Ferrell special will be dedicated towards fighting cancer. All the uniforms Ferrell wore as part of #FerrellTakesTheField will be auctioned off, and the money will be donated to charity as well.
“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,” said Madden. (He starts covering Ferrell at about 5:25 in the audio below.)
KCBS' morning show hosts, who were praising Ferrell before Madden took a dump on their comments, followed-up by asking how Ferrell's stunt was any different than a PGA event featuring celebrities and pro golfers, like the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. Madden dodged the question by responding with an anecdote about when Rick Barry, then of the Golden State Warriors, showed up to Raiders training camp once looking to maybe get a piece of the action:
“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. 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.”
After that, everyone seemed to forget why they were mad in the first place. Cool story, Mr. Madden.
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[via CBS SF]