OUT OF LEFTFIELD
The actor and comedian played 10 positions for 10 teams in five Cactus League games on March 12 to support the fight against cancer. His new movie, Get Hard, opens on Friday.
DAN PATRICK:If I ask your wife, Viveca, what annoys her most about you, what would she say?
WILL FERRELL: My lack of attention to detail in terms of scheduling. As far as pickups or drop-offs, I strand our kids at a lot of places.
DP:What would your kids say?
WF: That I think I'm funny, but I'm not.
DP:Do they think Kevin Hart is funnier?
WF: Oh, yeah. They also love [Adam] Sandler. They love all of my competition.
DP:Did you fill out an NCAA tournament bracket?
WF: I did, and I lost it. I have no idea where it is. Oh, wait.... I have Kentucky.
DP:I saw John Madden was upset by your spring training appearances.
WF: I know. Madden went after me.
WF: He's always singled me out. Someone told me he wasn't given the piece of information that it was all for charity, which makes me laugh even harder knowing that John Madden just thinks I've instructed Major League Baseball to allow me to play in five spring training games for my own jollies.
DP:What was the conversation like with commissioner Rob Manfred when you persuaded him to let you do it?
WF: The commissioner said, "O.K., don't get hurt." We were very fortunate he was completely on board. Some of the managers? A little skeptical.
DP:Who did not want you out there?
WF: The Diamondbacks' manager [Chip Hale] was not happy with me. I came in to [play] leftfield. We were down 9--1. I say we. By the time I left, we were down 12--1. He was quoted as saying, "I did not enjoy today. Ferrell cost us three runs."
DP:Hale is a by-the-book guy.
WF: He's a no-nonsense guy. He's exactly right. They kept hitting balls out to me that I just couldn't get to. I kept them in front of me. I always hit the cutoff man. There were a couple that a pro would have caught. I kept seeing the pitcher put his hands on his hips. Then I ran into the dugout trying to be funny, and no one would look at me. I said, "C'mon, guys, let's get 11 runs here."
DP:Did you wear a protective cup?
WF: Oh, yeah.
DP:Are you still wearing it?
WF: No. There were authenticators from Major League Baseball that took everything that I was wearing because they might display it for the Hall of Fame. So they literally took my cup.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino compared this season's Kentucky team with his 1996 NCAA champion Wildcats. "I don't think they're as good as my team," Pitino said. "Remember, the SEC was much tougher back then. I believe our average margin of victory in the SEC was 21 points." ... Warriors point guard Stephen Curry may be the favorite for MVP, but he wants to change the selection process. "[Players] should have a portion of the vote," Curry told me. "Obviously, we're the ones playing against each other and know who's having the best year." ...TNT's Craig Sager doesn't mind Gregg Popovich's non-answers during interviews. "If he wants to take it in a different direction, that's up to him," Sager said. "Same with Phil Jackson. You could ask him about defense, and he's going to give you an answer about Saturn."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
BRAD MANGIN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (FERRELL)
BILL FRAKES/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PITINO)
WINSLOW TOWNSON/AP (CURRY)
RANDY BELICE/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (SAGER)