Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

And the nominees to play MLB stars are ... @alysonfooter

By mid-afternoon on Sunday, Spring Training workouts will conclude for the day and ballplayers can shift their focus to the other priority: the Oscars.

Here's a not-so-little-known secret: Scores of ballplayers are also movie buffs, and many probably have some sort of Oscar pool ready to go as the party gets started.

By mid-afternoon on Sunday, Spring Training workouts will conclude for the day and ballplayers can shift their focus to the other priority: the Oscars.

Here's a not-so-little-known secret: Scores of ballplayers are also movie buffs, and many probably have some sort of Oscar pool ready to go as the party gets started.

We figured this was the perfect time to pick the brains of the movie-watching segment of the baseball society. We're curious -- not about what players' favorite movies are, but rather, who they would pick to play them in a movie. The answers ranged from insightful to hilarious to strange to downright, well, head-scratching.

Lights. Camera. And here we go...

Group A: Players who picked actors based on physical similarities

Take Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, for example. Full head of jet-black hair. Impish smile. Boy-next-door type. Who better to play him in a movie than ...

"Robert Downey Jr.," Gonzalez said. "He has that same look, that same hair, the whole thing. What I love about him is his personality. I love how quick he is with the jokes. He comes back at you like he's super smart -- a lot of the things I'm not."

It takes maybe five seconds to guess Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton's pick. After all, when you are a hulking tower of a human, you pretty much have to pick from a pool of other hulking towers of humans. And really, how many are out there?

So this one's easy. Stanton would be played by ... drum roll please ...The Rock (known to his mother and probably a high-school guidance counselor or two as Dwayne Johnson).

"We have similar features," Stanton correctly noted.

Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker needed no time to think about his answer, either. It's Will Smith, circa 1991.

"People say we look the same," Walker said. "I once had the flattop he had in 'Fresh Prince' and some people said we looked like twins."

But wait, it gets better. Walker said he can do "The Carlton," too.

"I can pretty much do anything he did, I watched that show so much," Walker said. "Could he do me? I'm sure he could. He's a good actor. He could figure it out."

Pirates reliever Jared Hughes instantly picked Jason Segel, saying his wife has previously made the connection. Hughes also hoped the film could find a spot for his dog, Tilly, who would pick the pup who portrayed Baxter from "Anchorman."

Other honorable mentions:

Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford: "After I saw him in 'People vs. O.J. Simpson,' I'd say Cuba Gooding Jr."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy: "Sam Elliott." (Because of the deep voice.)

White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton: "Adam Sandler. That's easy. I grew up watching him and as a young kid I kind of looked like him a little bit. I think that if there ever was a case, him for sure. He's funny and I think he would put on a good show."

Indians infielder Lonnie Chisenhall: "Just off looks alone, the guy who played Jesse in 'Breaking Bad' -- Aaron Paul. And that show won plenty of awards. I loved that show. It was great."

Group B: Players who named actors they don't resemble, but wish they did

This is where the most refreshingly candid answers poured in.

Cardinals first baseman Brandon Moss, for example, needed no time to come up with his pick.

"Channing Tatum," he said.

And why?

"He's a stud, an absolute stud. Who doesn't want to be played by Channing Tatum? It's a no-brainer," Moss reasoned.

Twins infielder Brian Dozier's pick? The McDreamy Patrick Dempsey.

"He's handsome, he's built, he's really funny," Dozier said, adding with a chuckle: "I'm just trying to list off my own qualities."

More tongue-in-cheek responses include that of Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett, whose inner spirit animal is, apparently, Mark Wahlberg.

"He's jacked like myself, he's a little shorter, like myself, he's got a good sense of humor, and he's the man," Gennett said.

And what say you, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo?

"Ryan Gosling. Maybe he has to bulk up a little bit. All the girls love him."

Teammate David Ross picked Russell Crowe: "He's been around, I like his image. He's good looking, just like me. He seems like a tough guy, just like me, and he's really, really smart, just like me."

Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan also aimed high.

"I'd take Bradley Cooper or Josh Duhamel -- I'd take a hybrid between them," he said. "I'd take Bradley Cooper for his acting and Josh for his looks. And Bradley Cooper plays the [stud] in a lot of movies. [Stud], good looking, jacked."

Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson would choose a combo as well, between Denzel Washington, Chris Tucker and Will Smith: "Where you bring serious, but also non-serious. You focus, but keep you loose and relaxed. All three of those guys bring a little bit of that."

Group C: Players who picked actors that they don't resemble, but rather, they admire

Let's kick this off with the comedic stylings of A's pitcher Sean Doolittle.

"Either Tom Hardy, or maybe Leo DiCaprio, and he'd get his first Oscar out of it probably," Doolittle began. "They can fight over it. Did you see 'The Revenant'? Like that version of Leo. Scruffy, rugged, tough guy.

"But Tom Hardy grows a really good beard, and I think he really captures my strong, silent mentality. He's very handsome, and he plays a good villain. I just think he could give me some street cred, help me with my brand."

Padres pitcher James Shields said he'd pick George Clooney.

"I'd probably want [somebody to play me] that everybody likes," Shields said. "So I'd probably have to go with George Clooney or something like that."

Rangers Derek Holland picked two: Will Ferrell "for his personality and his acting skill" (and, most likely, his shared ability to imitate Harry Caray), and Kevin Costner.

"He does a lot of baseball movies, and he did the movie ['For Love of the Game'] that I watch before every start," Holland said.

Video: OAK@HOU: Kevin Costner talks music, calls a home run

Angels reliever Cam Bedrosian, like Doolittle, picked Hardy: "He's the man. Have you seen him in 'The Revenant'? Good actor. He's like your man's man, almost like a modern-day John Wayne."

Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon: "Maybe Jean-Claude Van Damme, because he is part ninja, part weightlifter. Yeah, anyone in 'Bloodsport.'"

Rays infielder Evan Longoria: "I hope it would be Brad Pitt, he's my favorite. He's made some good movies."

Astros outfielder George Springer: "Leonardo DiCaprio, because the dude's a man. I don't know. If anybody has seen any of his films or his flicks you know he's a good actor and has done some cool stuff."

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman identifies with 'Modern Family' funnyman Eric Stonestreet: "He's just so hilarious. I like him. I love watching the show and he's a sports guy. In the clubhouse, I'm kind of a loud and goofy guy. I give a little different persona on the field. I think anybody who is goofy could play me."

Red Sox fan fave David Ortiz selected Samuel L. Jackson: "The baddest man around."

Orioles reliever Darren O'Day picked Justin Timberlake: "Because is there anything that guy can't do?"

Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius said it's a toss-up between Wesley Snipes or Denzel Washington: "I've seen Wesley Snipes in baseball movies, and Denzel, he can act in anything. For me, it's those top two guys right there."

Lorenzo Cain narrowed it down between Smith, Washington and Jamie Foxx, and eventually settled for Smith. "Maybe Jamie Foxx could be [Jarrod] Dyson," he said.

Tigers Triple Crowner Miguel Cabrera has, appropriately, three picks. For a zany-funny flick, he'd pick Ferrell. A gangster film? Washington. And for an action movie, like "Taken," he'd go with Liam Neeson.

Sadly, we will probably never know who would play RomCom Miggy.

"Wow. ... No, I don't watch those kind of movies," he said.

Group D: Everyone who falls under the category of head-scratchingly hilarious

First up: D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, who said his first choice would be Paul Giamatti. His second choice is ... Morgan Freeman?

Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman:

"Pee Wee Herman or Don Knotts. Pee Wee Herman would be bouncing around like we all know he does -- smiling, happy and [messing] around with people. Then Don Knotts had the big Adam's apple like I've got. He walked around with one bullet in his pocket. I walk around with one in my pocket, verbally. God rest his soul, although there are a lot of people that would like to see someone dead play me."

And, finally, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who was perhaps a little disheartened by his 23rd-place finish in the annual rankings of Hardball Talk's most handsome managers.

"Donald Trump, but he's not an actor," Gibbons said. "An actor? Robert Redford. I don't know who comes out with it but every year they rate the looks of different managers in the game. [I didn't finish] real good. Not good enough. ... I probably have a higher opinion of myself than most people, so I'll say Robert Redford."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. Beat reporters contributed to this story.