There's no mistaking Eastbound & Down's Danny McBride for The Natural
It is said that a star athlete dies twice: The first passing is called "retirement." In HBO's spot-on satire Eastbound & Down (Season 2 premiere: Sept. 26, 10:30 p.m. ET), actor Danny McBride stars as Kenny Powers, an ex-fireballer who cannot help but rage—profanely—against the dying of the light.
"We didn't look at any one player. We set it in baseball after seeing headlines about these guys, these heroes, who were using steroids and cheating, guys who were used to being the center of attention."
"I realized, Oh, f---, I have to know how to throw a f------ baseball. I met with a guy who worked with UNC-Wilmington, and he started showing me the mechanics. When he got a look at my mild heat, he shook his head and said, 'Good thing it's a comedy.' I had no control. I took a few assistant cameramen's eyes out."
SHOW FANS ... IN THE SHOW
"Through our agents we hear stuff like, 'This team called, and they watch the show all the time,' or we'll hear about players [like the Rays' Evan Longoria]. We saw that photo of Marilyn Manson [dressed as Kenny Powers]. It's nuts. Our fan base is all over the f------ place."
"MEXICAN BASEBALL HOOSIERS"
"We actually wrote 13 drafts of the first episode of the second season [in which] Kenny stays in North Carolina, and it was terrible. We finally set it in Mexico. What we tried to do this season was show Kenny on a team. I like telling stories about dudes trying to prove their domination."
CASTING AGAINST TYPE
"Jody [Hill, his cocreator] and myself enjoy baseball, but we're f------ nerds, into movies and s---. But I did all that stuff when I was a kid: I ran track, played basketball, T-ball, karate. I was just terrible at all of it. I turned my back on it for my own protection."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
The sports minister of Togo claims that a group of soccer players who purported to be the Togolese national team while losing 3--0 to Bahrain last week in an international friendly was in fact a "completely fake" impostor squad.
FRED NORRIS/HBO (MCBRIDE)
STAR IN STRIPES Year 2 finds Powers south of the border, but still red-white-and-blue blooded.