GLENDALE, Ariz. — Will Ferrell’s arrival at the White Sox Cactus League game against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night was late — he didn’t get there till the ninth inning because of film crew traffic problems — but you have to give the comedian/actor makeup points for the spectacular, his chopper landing in center field to the sounds of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” on the ballpark’s PA system.
Camelback Ranch was the fourth of five stops on Ferrell’s play-all-nine positions one-day tour of the Cactus League. From the chopper, Ferrell strolled to the White Sox dugout on the first base side, cameras clicking with his every step. He worked his way from one end of the dugout to the end past players and coaches — some of them taking pictures themselves — to the bat rack.
Leading off the ninth inning to face Giants right-hander Jean Machi’s low-90s mph fastball, Farrell struck out on a 2-2 pitch but not before fouling off a chopper on the first base side. Shaking his hand and bending over in pain, Ferrell regrouped.
And then he went down swinging.
That’s when the PA announcer informed the crowd that Ferrell had been traded to the Giants, and with that, he walked to the third base dugout to change uniforms and reappeared to get behind the plate to catch Machi. To save his left hand from handling more of Machi’s heat, the Giants intentionally walked Sox minor league prospect Joey DeMichele before manager Bruce Bochy came out and removed him from the game.
“I hope I get some royalties if they keep showing that because I’ll be the batter forever,’’ said DeMichele, whose jersey had No. 91 but no name on the back. “I don’t know how that works.’’
DeMichele was taken out of the game — his plate appearance didn’t even go in the official box score — and the Giants quickly wrapped up a 7-4 victory.
Ferrell made the rounds Thursday as part of an HBO production, in partnership with MLB, while trying to raise what Ferrell said in a radio interview he hoped would be $1 million for charities, including the Cancer for College scholarship program.
All involved enjoyed the fun and supported the good cause.
“I’m surprised they let him [land in a helicopter],’’ Sox prospect Trayce Thompson said, “but it was funny. He comes in the dugout and first thing he said was ‘we are down two guys, let’s go!. He’s high-fiving everybody. It was great. It was fun.’’
And worth the wait. An anxious one at that, as most everyone was asking, “Where’s Will?”
“Yeah, well I was,” Thompson said. “Everyone was hyping up this helicopter and stuff. He made it and seeing him catch for the Giants was even funnier than seeing him hit. It was definitely worth playing this game for that.”