Will Ferrell is known for pushing the limits. For him, nothing is out of reach and nothing is too ridiculous. His will-do attitude and his perfect mix between outrageous and sincere is what draws fans into each project he attaches his name to. Taking in account his work on SNL and movies like Blades of Glory and Anchorman (we’ll forget Anchorman 2 ever happened), it’s clear Ferrell is not afraid to make the journey from far past left field to home plate.
When I first heard Will Ferrell was going to play at the Major League Baseball Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona this year, I was sure it was a joke. That beautiful soft, doughy body going up against professional athletes? No way. But, as I found out it was to raise $1 million in donations to Cancer for College – a charity started by Ferrell’s college buddy and fraternity brother, Craig Pollard – I was incredibly intrigued to see the outcome. Pollard, whose cancer diagnosis ended his baseball career at USC and his dreams of playing the majors, started the charity to award scholarships to people who have survived cancer and are looking to continue their education.
Ferrell plays 10 different positions (all nine field positions, including third base coach) across 10 different teams in five games at five different stadiums in one day. He refers to himself as a “47-year-old baby” and that couldn’t be more accurate. He gets some tips from the 1965 record holder, Bert Campaneris – there were three others to precede Ferrell in the feat – but nothing could prepare him for the day to come. To the surprise of everyone (including Ferrell himself) the actor actually makes a couple of plays that stop the other team from getting on base.
Team after team cuts him until he retires as a San Diego Padre. Still in his San Diego uniform, Ferrell keeps it classy (har har) in his retirement speech, by thanking the fans and his friend, Craig, while still lumping himself in with the greats: Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle.
While it’s not the most hysterical thing Ferrell has starred in, it is lightly sprinkled with laugh-out-loud moments. He pokes fun at himself, like comparing his body to an A’s player who says he has 9% body fat. And, per usual, he fully commits to his character and takes no prisoners, like calling Billy Beane (Oakland A’s general manager) a “blood-sucking liar” after he’s been traded to the Marlins. There are plenty of one-line stingers Ferrell is known to deliver, but it’s important to remember the reason for this special in the first place: charity.
Catch an airing of Ferrell Takes The Field on HBO Wednesday, September 16 at 11pm or on On Demand.