SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Actor and comedian Will Ferrell is not necessarily someone you would expect to see at the ballpark during spring training, especially on the baseball field.
But fans will get to see the man who made Ron Burgundy famous in person on Thursday, as he will be playing every position on the field, while making appearances at five Arizona Cactus League games. That includes taking the field with both the Giants and A’s.
The event will be filmed for an upcoming HBO special in conjunction with the Funny or Die website co-founded by Ferrell. He is dedicating the special to fighting cancer and said he also wanted to honor Bert Campaneris, who became the first player to play all nine positions in a major league game five decades ago.
While many are excited to see the comedian take the field (the hashtag #FerrellTakesTheField is trending on Twitter), John Madden is not one of them.
“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,” Madden told the KCBS Morning Crew.
When asked by KCBS anchor Stan Bunger what the difference was between what Ferrell is doing and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am, Madden said the golf tournament, which features celebrities playing with PGA Tour professionals, is filled with tradition “back to the days of Bing Crosby” and the Crosby Clambake.
Coach Madden in fact reminisced about an experience he had while coaching the Raiders, involving former Golden State Warriors star Rick Barry.
“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 said Barry ended up not suiting up and the joke was over. Ha said if the Warriors star had decided to take the field, he would have been treated like every other player, and would have to take licks just like everyone else.