Celebrities have appeared in real spring training games periodically over the years, notably actor / comedian / Yankees fan / Long Beach High School alum Billy Crystal, who struck out for the Yankees on his 60th birthday in 2008, and Garth Brooks, who played for the Mets in 2000, along with the Padres and Royals in seasons.
But no one before Thursday has done anything as ambitious as actor / comedian Will Ferrell, who -- in about 15 hours -- played every position in the course of five Cactus League games, during which he wore the uniforms of 10 teams.
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The stunt attracted so much publicity, there might not be much room left on the Internet, but it was for a good cause.
Ferrell's Arizona adventure was part of a project involving MLB and "Funny or Die'' for a show that HBO will televise later this year. Proceeds from the event, including the auctioning of the 10 uniforms he wore, will benefit Stand Up to Cancer and Cancer for College, which provides scholarships to people battling the disease.
Ferrell looked fairly competent for a 47-year-old who is not as svelte as he might wish.
Among the highlights of his day were coaching third base for the Cubs and holding up printed signs for hitters rather than giving encoded signs with his hands; arriving at the Giants-Diamondbacks game in a helicopter, successfully fielding a ball in the outfield for the Angels and retiring the only batter he faced as a Dodgers pitcher.
He struck out in both of his at-bats.
Ferrell had begun his day at the A's camp, where he met with Bert Campaneris, who 50 years ago played all nine positions in a regular-season game.
After the Dodgers-Padres game, Ferrell addressed the crowd, saying: "When I embarked on this journey, way back at breakfast, I thought to myself, 'Can I do it?' The answer was yes.'' He added: "I'll never forget what happened today. Unless I get hit by a line drive.''
-- NEIL BEST