SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Salt River Fields was a movie set Thursday for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Cactus League tilt with the Cincinnati Reds.
Will Ferrell — a.k.a. Ron Burgundy, Ricky Bobby, Brennan Huff, the list goes on — was there to star for both the D-backs and Reds. The stint was part of a Funny Or Die special that will air on HBO later this year. It will also help raise funds for cancer organizations.
The stadium was packed with 12,921 fans anxiously waiting for the actor to take the field. And at the top of the 6th inning, subtle Ferrell chants rang from the rails of the left lawn. Spectators leaned against them, waiting to get that first glimpse of Ferrell taking the field.
But security swooped by, instructing them to sit.
The wait was short. The man of the game arrived in the bottom half of that inning, walking out of the left tunnel entrance. Phones popped up for pictures and the crowd cheered.
Ferrell high-fived D-backs players along their side of the field as he headed for the dugout.
At the start of the 7th inning, Ferrell manned left field for the D-backs, who were trailing 9-1. He sprang into action fast as reliever J.C. Ramirez’s first pitch thrown was lined his way for a Kyle Skipworth double. He scooped the ball up and threw it to third, which ignited the fans.
“Good hustle number 19!” one yelled.
The fans chanted “Ferrell” prompting a few “thank-you’s” from the man himself.
While he waited for another pitch, one man quipped, “That’s a lot of room to do activities in,” referencing the movie Step Brothers, which Ferrell stars in.
In all, Ferrell made three plays in left during the half-inning and the Reds added three runs in the frame.
“Save the game!” someone yelled.
One man persistently shouted at the left fielder and screamed, “Do it for baby Jesus,” to which Farrell said, “I’m afraid you’re going to lose your voice.”
After Ramirez struck out Taylor Sparks to end the inning, Ferrell stopped by Section 120 and passed out free hot dogs.
The Roth family received some of those. Dustin Roth, attending the game with his mother and brother, is a Ferrell fan, but said he didn’t know the actor was coming he heard it on the radio the evening before.
Roth said his favorite Ferrell flick is Anchorman.
“He can be any character he wants to be,” he said.
Ron Martinez has seen a few Ferrell’s movies but isn’t the biggest of fans. Yet the actor’s play impressed him.
“He doesn’t have much (for) legs but we don’t when we get older,” he joked.
Ferrell stuck with the D-backs until the top of the 8th inning, when he swapped Sedona red for Cincinnati red to join manager Bryan Price and the Reds.
An out in, he ran onto the field and positioned himself at third base for the remainder of the inning.
“I guess you got traded!” one woman called out.
But his Reds debut was short-lived. Two more outs, and he left the field to the tune of Brennan Huff’s rendition of “Por Ti Volare.”
Fans followed suit. They lined up outside the stadium as Farrell high-fived them and boarded a helicopter wearing a White Sox uniform, signaling his next stop — Camelback Ranch.