Sunday, March 15, 2015

John Madden blasts Will Ferrell for playing in MLB spring training games

When Will Ferrell took the field for ten teams during an MLB spring training day stunt which benefited cancer research, most people found it to be a harmless diversion from what are normally considered warmup games.

Not so Hall of Fame NFL coach and legendary broadcaster John Madden who thought the actor should keep his sports comedy on screen and off the diamond.

The daylong stunt was part of a new HBO special from Funny Or Die — which is dedicated to the fight against cancer. Ferrell suited up for ten teams — including Madden's hometown Oakland Athletics — and played all nine positions during games in the Cactus League in Arizona on Thursday.

When Madden was asked about the stunt, he said it showed a "lack of respect."

The 78-year-old Madden called in to KCBS before Ferrell took the field with the A's to discuss the stunt.

"I hate it," he said.

"That's a lack of respect for the game and for what players have to do to get where they are."

In addition to the A's, Ferrell "played" for the Mariners, Angels, Cubs, D'Backs, Reds, White Sox, Giants, Dodgers and Padres. 

The Super Bowl-winning coach further explained that when he was coaching in Oakland, Golden State Warriors superstar Rick Barry said he wanted to practice with the Raiders during training camp.

Madden claimed he instructed his players to flatten the NBA star. 

"I'm in training camp in Santa Rosa. Rick Barry comes walking by and he was playing for the Warriors at that time," said Madden. "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," claimed Madden. 

"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.'"

After Ferrell's duties on the field, his spring training statistics were posted on

Ferrell is listed 11 times under the March 12, 2015, transactions section of baseball reference. 

Among the notable listings for John William Ferrell (Manimal) are: Traded to Chicago Cubs for a washing machine; Traded to Arizona Diamondbacks for a Churro Dog and D-Bat Dog; and claimed off waivers by Cincinnati Reds, Norm MacDonald released.

He's listed as becoming arbitration eligible in 2018 and can file for free agency in 2021. 

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