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Twenty years after he portrayed the Bambino, actor John Goodman returns to baseball

Among his hundreds of roles, John Goodman once played Babe Ruth. Now the actor is exploring the other side of baseball, starring as a scout turned team executive in the new Clint Eastwood movie Trouble with the Curve.

Q: What drew you to this project?

A: The scouts are the unsung heroes. It's highly unglamorous; you got to love baseball—you just go to high school games and legion games, day after day. But these guys know baseball better than anybody.

Q: You played the larger-than-life title role in The Babe. What was the highlight of that shoot?

A: We shot at Wrigley Field ... but it was a tough shoot. We were wearing those old-style uniforms when it was 105°.... I had a rubber nose, and I had to keep wringing it out because it would fill up with sweat.

Q: Before you played the football coach in Revenge of the Nerds and an LSU lineman in Everybody's All-American, you were a real-life walk-on at Southwest Missouri State. Why didn't things work out?

A: I was too damn lazy. And too damn slow. I was an offensive lineman who couldn't block anyone, and I picked up all these injuries—shoulder, back, knee, everything. All the injury and none of the glory. I was better suited for the theater department.

Q: As a Cardinals fan and St. Louis native, what was it like following the team's World Series run last October?

A: I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it. I was in New Orleans, but I remember driving around and trying to pick up KMOX and listen to the games on the radio. I have such wonderful memories of summer nights with Jack Buck and Harry Caray on the radio, the old guys are sitting around the driveways, all over the neighborhood, with a few cold longneck Budweisers. It don't get no better than that.