#FerrellTakesTheField and Spices Up Spring Training

By: Gina Mason

This year’s Major League Baseball Spring Training is one for the record books and one player is sure to go down in infamy for pulling off one of the most bizarre antics in baseball history. On Thursday, this player was traded to 10 different teams and played 10 different positions during five games in the span of one day. However, this was not your average professional baseball player. This type of accomplishment could only be pulled off by the man, the myth, the legend, Will Ferrell.

The comedian/actor laced up his cleats and hit the baseball field in a stunt of epic proportions to defy the odds of baseball, honor baseball legend Bert “Campy” Campaneris and most importantly, raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer.

Thanks to the brilliance of HBO and Funny or Die, Ferrell played all 10 positions (including DH) for 10 teams in the Cactus League in Arizona as part of an upcoming TV special that will air later this year. Relying on cars and “choppahs” (helicopters) to get from game to game, Ferrell managed to go 0-2 (2K) with one foul tip on offense, he also intentionally walked one batter while pitching, skillfully coached third base with awesome signs, grew an impressive beard and was traded for a Churro Dog and a D-bat Dog.

Prior to the games, Ferrell said that he felt confident going into the day and that “these teams need a clubhouse presence and my presence is a flabby 47-year-old guy that doesn’t know how to play. But I have life experience and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done,” during a pre-game(s) interview with ESPN’s Mike & Mike.
Not only did Ferrell pull off this crazy stunt, it was all documented via live-tweeting with the hashtag #FerrellTakesTheField.

Here is a recap of the day, thanks to ABC News:

“GAME ONE: Ferrell kicked off the first game by playing shortstop for the A’s. However, his time with the team was short, as he was traded to the Mariners almost immediately. “The A’s announced that Will Ferrell has been traded to the @Mariners for a CATBNL (Comedic Actor To Be Named Later). #FerrellTakesTheField,” the Mariners announced on Twitter. He played second base for the Mariners.

GAME TWO: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
As a kid, Ferrell rooted for the Angels, “before they became the L.A. Angels of Anaheim, Adjacent to L.A., Just Southern California, South, North of San Diego Angels,” he joked. He kicked off game two playing for his hometown team, taking center field in place of Mike Trout and during his time on the field, successfully fielded the ball.
Afterward, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he played first and coached third base.
Ferrell also batted, though he struck out!

GAME THREE: Cincinnati Reds at Arizona Diamondbacks
In a blockbuster trade, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired Ferrell from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for two specialty hot dogs — a Churro dog and D-Bat dog — before playing Cincinnati.
It’s unclear if the hot dog he was later seen eating was one he was traded for.
Ferrell lined up in left field for the Diamondbacks.
Ferrell was later traded to the Reds and suddenly grew a lengthy grey beard. He played third base for Cincinnati.

GAME FOUR: San Francisco Giants at Chicago White Sox
Ferrell was on the move again later, arriving as a member of the Chicago White Sox via helicopter.
He struck out as a White Sox player and was quickly traded to the San Francisco Giants.
GAME FIVE: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Ferrell pitched for the Dodgers before he was traded to the Padres to become San Diego’s right fielder.”

What may seem like an extravagant ploy, the craziness of the day did not go unnoticed and was extremely successful in terms of fundraising. According to @CBSSportsMLB, Ferrell was able to raise $1 million dollars to fight cancer and he will also auction off all of the uniforms and equipment he used during the day for the cause. It seemed as though the players, fans and all involved really enjoyed the comedic relief of Ferrell’s absurdity, but not all appreciated what he was doing. Former NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden found the stunt offensive, ““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.”

As a huge Will Ferrell and baseball fan, I loved this stunt and that fact that it raised money for a great cause. Some view the game of baseball as “boring” and I think this spiced it up a little and showed the MLB as an organization may not be so “old school” as many previously thought. While I understand how some view the stunt as “disrespectful” to the game, I think because it was raising awareness for a good cause it was totally acceptable. After all, this was Spring Training not Game 7 of the World Series. I also loved the social media updates from all of the teams involved and hope that baseball as well as all professional sports organizations can take advantage of opportunities like this to generate awareness and give back to charities that need help.

What did you think of this stunt? Did you find it funny or disrespectful?
As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read be social and share.

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