Little League memories and the meditative experience of baseball games with Matt Ingebretson of 'Corporate'
"Corporate" recently finished its second season on Comedy Central, satirizing the "office job" as seen through the eyes of co-creators Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman, portraying low-level employees plodding along day by day for Hampton DeVille (a mega-company with the tagline "We Don't Make Anything, We Make Everything.")
Inspired by the episode "Labor Day," in which Matt and Jake spend a weekend bored at the office before eventually playing some impromptu baseball using a poster tube and stress balls, Ingebretson spent a few minutes talking with me about baseball and his abstract relationship with it.
New episode of Corporate tonight titled “Labor Day.” This is one of my favorite episodes this season. Lance Reddick is an absolute wonder in it. Adam Lustick is so funny it makes me throw up. Tune into Comedy Central at 10:30pm. pic.twitter.com/Sd1fgdYkt5— Matt Ingebretson (@mattingebretson) February 26, 2019
Do you have any personal history with baseball, whether as a fan or somebody who played the game as a kid?
Matt Ingebretson: I played Little League baseball until sixth grade. I was a terrible batter and fielder. I mostly played to get the free snow cones after the game.
However, my final season in Little League, I hit a home run one time at bat -- greatest feeling I've ever experienced. It was blind luck. It felt like winning the lottery. I was the only kid on my team who hit a home run that season, so my coach moved me up to third in the order afterward ... then I struck out a bunch and slowly made my way back down the lineup to ninth. Then, back on the bench where I belonged, eating sunflower seeds whole -- shells and all (and getting severely dehydrated from all the sodium).
In one of the latest episodes of "Corporate," you basically played baseball in the office using a poster tube and stress balls while stuck there doing work over a holiday weekend. Did that experience teach you any lessons about athletic competition in an office setting?
Matt Ingebretson: I learned that stress balls are pretty unsatisfying to hit -- they don't go very far.
I know you've been to at least one baseball game in your life. Whether that's the only one or if you've attended multiple games, what did you take away from the experience as a spectator?
Matt Ingebretson: I love going to baseball games, especially games at Dodger Stadium. It's beautiful. It's one of my favorite ways to experience Los Angeles. When I'm at Dodgers games, I feel like I'm in a movie about baseball.
For me, as a casual spectator who isn't following any team too closely, I find being at baseball games to be meditative. Sometimes I'll find myself staring blankly at the field, thinking about my friends or family or jokes I'm working on, or how I'm now in my thirties and life is flying by faster than I ever expected. Or how I just ate a Dodger Dog but am still hungry, or that I need to do my taxes, or replaying an awkward interaction I had at a meeting earlier that day. Then, suddenly, I'll pop out of that fantasy and realize -- oh, I'm watching a baseball game.
Are there any elements you can identify from the game of baseball that carry over to the office atmosphere?
Matt Ingebretson: I always played outfield, and in Little League barely anything got hit to me, so I was always testing the limits of how much I could zone out during a game while not committing any egregious errors. That's also my experience with office jobs -- how little can I do without getting fired?
The late Brody Stevens was a beloved comedian, but he was also a passionate, lifelong baseball fan and a former high school standout pitcher. Did you have any fond memories of Brody, either pertaining to baseball or just as a person?
Matt Ingebretson: Every time I encountered Brody he was very kind and human to me. And he was always the most interesting part of any stand-up show he was on because he was so in the moment, and his schtick didn't work as often as it worked. It was always wonderful seeing him dig his way out of a hole with the audience by shouting "positive energy!"
You could really feel his athleticism in his performance.
Adrian Garro joined MLB.com in 2016. Throughout his travels, both Bartolo Colon and Vin Scully have placed their hands on his shoulders. Not at the same time, though. That'd be amazing.