Will Ferrell has raked in box-office millions over a career built playing the earnest goofball in a string of sports movies that’s seen him do it all from lacing up his skates, starting his engines and hitting nothing but net.
Now he shifts from the silver screen to the baseball diamond for one of his wackiest stunts yet.
Let’s play all 9!
The comedian plans to play every position while appearing at five Arizona spring training games Thursday. The event will be filmed for an upcoming HBO special in conjunction with the “Funny or Die” website co-founded by Ferrell.
Ferrell is dedicating his special to fighting cancer, HBO and Major League Baseball said Wednesday. He also will honor Bert Campaneris, who five decades ago became the first to play all nine positions in a major league game. Ferrell will play for all 10 teams involved.
He was expected at: Seattle Mariners-Oakland Athletics, which starts at 3 p.m.; Chicago Cubs-Los Angeles Angels, 4:10 p.m.; Cincinnati Reds-Arizona Diamondbacks, 5:10 p.m.; San Francisco Giants-Chicago White Sox, 7:05 p.m.; and Los Angeles Dodgers-San Diego Padres, 9:15 p.m.
He might not have an Oscar, but Ferrell has shined as the MVP in several sports starring roles. Here are some of his best:
LIVE, FROM NEW YORK: Holy Cow! Ferrell batted 1.000 with his bobblehead and boozy spin on Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray on “Saturday Night Live.” While Caray was a real life Bud Man, Ferrell had a more culinary take in his non sequiturs, asking, “If you were a hot dog, if you were starving, would you eat yourself?” and “Hey! Would you eat the moon if it were made of ribs?” And why did Caray like the sun? “I like it ‘cause it’s like the King of Planets.” In 2012, Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, promoting their movie “The Campaign,” threw out the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game.
But Ferrell didn’t limit himself to the befuddled broadcaster on “SNL.” He portrayed an awkward Spartan cheerleader who always ended with “The Perfect Cheer.”
START YOUR ENGINES: Ferrell was ready to shake ‘n’ bake when he lampooned NASCAR in “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” So what if the 2006 movie didn’t exactly paint the good ol’ boys in the most flattering light? Ferrell took the checkered flag in the manic comedy with his spin as the redneck race car driver with a complete disconnect from reality who just wanted to turn left in his No 26 Wonder Bread car and make his daddy proud. It might also include Ferrell’s most famous movie quote: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
NOTHING BUT NET: Ferrell starred as Jackie Moon, a singer-turned-basketball owner in the American Basketball Association. Moon pulled triple duty as owner, coach and starting power forward for the fledging Flint Tropics as he tries to squeeze his way into the NBA. Ferrell remained true to the 1970s era by taking six months to grow out his own fantastic ‘fro. The best bit may come from the way Jackie Moon made his money - with the insanely catchy 1970 R&B hit “Love Me Sexy,” a Barry White rip-off that contains lines like: “Baby, wake up. We’re naked. And we’re sexy.”
Ferrell returned to basketball this year for the upcoming film, “Daddy’s Home.” Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg attended a New Orleans Pelicans game in January and filmed two takes of a scene for the movie during halftime. The scene involved Ferrell’s character winning a chance to make a half-court shot for prizes during an NBA game involving the Lakers. Ferrell’s character then gets belligerent and the scene turns temporarily chaotic. He even plunks a cheerleader in the face with a basketball.
ICE CAPADES: Ferrell broke out the hot sequins, flowing locks and all the ice dancing he could muster as sex-addicted skater Chazz Michael Michaels in “Blades of Glory.” Ferrell’s an arrogant rebel of a men’s champ, Jon Heder’s his finicky rival, and the two end up teaming as the first men’s pair after they’re barred for life from solo competition. CMM exclaims: “Thank you Denver, The City by the Bay. John Denver.” Hey, who can ever go wrong with a John Denver reference?
GOOOOOOOAL: Ferrell shared the screen with former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka in “Kicking and Screaming.” Ferrell is a reluctant soccer coach trying to coax his ragtag band of boys into winners - as he rages wildly out of control with a hefty mix power and caffeine - and takes aim on the soccer moms (and dads) who can’t stay out of the way of a kids game. His Phil Weston character eventually sees the error of his ways and wins with sportsmanship - and laughs.
EXTRA INNINGS: Frank! The! Tank! Ferrell proved in “Old School” that not even frat boys had mastered the sport of drinking like 30-something pledge Frank “The Tank” Ricard. He was going streaking, just not the winning kind. … Wooooo! Ferrell channeled his inner Ric Flair with bleach-blond hair, snazzy suits and a supersized attitude to match his wrestling personna as sleazy car dealer Ashley Schaeffer in HBO’s “Eastbound and Down.” … Think a running back trying to find a hole through the Steel Curtain was tough? Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf had to pass through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then walked through the Lincoln Tunnel before he found his home in New York. … Ready to rumble? Ferrell was in for the fight of his life when “Anchorman’s” Ron Burgundy led his news team in an over-the-top smackdown with San Diego’s, umm, other elite news crews.
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