Ferrell 'inducted' into Hall of Fame
Actor also raised more than $1 million for Cancer for College
SAN DIEGO -- Although he looks like a very normal guy -- he might resemble your high school algebra teacher or the neighbor down the street who was always fixing something in the driveway -- Will Ferrell most definitely does not just blend in when he's out among the people.
That was never more apparent than Saturday night at Petco Park, where Ferrell's superstar status was front and center amidst a sellout crowd at the Padres-Dodgers game. This wasn't just any typical night in San Diego, of course. Ferrell, one of the most celebrated comedic actors of his generation, was in San Diego to introduce his latest venture, "Ferrell Takes the Field," a documentary detailing every twist and turn during Ferrell's jaunt through the Cactus League last Spring Training in Arizona.
"Ferrell Takes the Field," a joint venture between HBO, Funny or Die and Major League Baseball that will air on HBO Saturday, Sept. 12 at 10 ET, was shown on the giant scoreboard at Petco Park following the Dodgers-Padres game. Ferrell was on hand to address the crowd, introduce the movie and thank all who were involved in putting it together.
The brief ceremony, however, was a bit more involved than just a general salute to the crowd.
First, Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson was on hand to present Ferrell with a Hall of Fame jersey and plaque, commemorating Ferrell's unprecedented journey during which he played 10 positions for 10 teams during five games, all in one day.
"With all due respect to Cal Ripken Jr., tonight's inductee is an Iron Man of sorts," Idelson said to the crowd. "Even though his career only lasted 12 hours."
The plaque, which was unveiled by Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Padres outfielder Wil Myers, referred to Ferrell as "The Cactus Rose" and "Mr. Clutch," who "was once traded nine times in one day."
In addition to the pageantry, also front and center during the ceremony was the charity that benefited from the movie.
Ferrell waived his appearance fees and filmed the documentary free of charge, sending those funds to MLB's Stand up to Cancer and also Cancer for College, an organization founded by Ferrell's USC fraternity brother, Craig Pollard, a two-time cancer survivor.
Cancer For College awards scholarships to cancer survivors aiming to obtain a college degree.
Many of the recipients of scholarships from Cancer for College were at Petco Park for the ceremony. Ferrell didn't just read off the list of names. He introduced each recipient individually, noted what type of cancer they beat, and listed the colleges they are attending.
"This allowed us to raise over $1 million for Cancer for College," Ferrell said. "That's the real reason why we're here tonight."
Pollard started Cancer For College over two decades ago and had awarded $2 million in scholarships over that period of time. Ferrell's Spring Training adventure raised around half that amount, in just about 14 hours.
"It means the world," Pollard said, prior to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. "It's the most amazing thing we've ever done as a charity. I was just kind of blown away, the amount of money and the impact that money is already making right now in the charity, it's huge for us."
After the ceremony, the lights went out at Petco, and the crowd settled in to watch the movie.
"Ferrell Takes the Field" captured the intensity of Ferrell's day, from the very minute he entered the A's clubhouse and told onlookers, "I'm in beast mode now. Can't talk."
He fared...adequately during his round in the cage, too.
"The most exciting play in batting practice," Ferrell deadpanned, "is the sacrifice bunt."
Somehow, the show's producers managed to whittle 14 hours of footage down to a 47-minute, action-packed documentary. The movie ends with Ferrell addressing the crowd at the Padres-Dodgers Cactus League game, his very last stop.
"When I embarked on this journey way back at breakfast, I thought to myself, could I do it?" Ferrell said. "Was I the best player on the field today? Maybe, maybe not. But there is life in this 47-year-old arm."
With a big heart to match.