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The many faces of Gary Busey: Rays ceremonial first pitcher

Before their matchup with the visiting Blue Jays on Friday night, the Rays welcomed a very special guest to Tropicana Field: actor Gary Busey.

Busey channeled his inner Chet Steadman, throwing tonight's ceremonial first pitch. He's in the Tampa Bay area for the 11th annual Sunscreen Film Festival, held this weekend in St. Petersburg. Busey, who's appeared in over 150 films, is promoting his latest, "Candiland."

Prior to taking the mound, Busey posed for a photo with Rays catcher Curt Casali:  

And then took it all in atop the mound:


Judging by some of these photos, Busey had a really good time during his visit (as anybody would when wearing an official MLB jersey over a Hawaiian shirt):

description's George Pappas was able to ask Busey a few questions, and his answers were pretty great. Some highlights, per Busey's replies:  

Busey says he was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Yankees growing up. 

His two favorite roles? A high school quarterback in a made-for-TV movie called "Blood Sport" and, of course, Chet Steadman in the 1993 classic "Rookie of the Year" -- a role, by the way, that still results in some people referring to him as 'The Rocket' to this day. 

For "Rookie of the Year" Busey was trained by former White Sox pitcher Tim Stoddard: 

"I was always practicing the pitching form. Tim Stoddard who pitched for the White Sox, big guy, he trained me. We came into my dressing room one night. I'd been pitching one afternoon for 4 hours. He said, Gary, square your shoulders. He said look at your hands. Put your hands down at your side, square your shoulders and look at your hands. I pitched so long my right arm was 2 ½ inches longer than my left."

So, would Steadman have made the Hall of Fame had he been a real player? 


"Yeah. He would be because of his fastball when he was in his prime. Thus the name, The Rocket. He would be. He was a cantankerous, aggressive, more than assertive kind of guy, like you, me. When we're on the job. YEAH!"

In a fun twist for "Point Break" fans (the original version, mind you), Busey's visit to the Trop came on the very same day a film titled "Keanu" hit theaters.


To make the timing of all of this even more perfect, "Keanu" features the real Keanu Reeves providing the voice of the cat around which the film is centered.