And you thought "Manny Being Manny" had its share of crazy antics?
Until Manny Ramirez comes out of the bullpen to pitch with a fake mustache, large gold chains and a bag of beer, he’s got nothing on Billy Ray "Rojo" Johnson.
The Venezuelan right-hander/ex-convict — played by comedian Will Ferrell — made his "debut" for the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express. Johnson/Ferrell threw just one pitch to start the sixth inning before being ejected and chased out through the center-field gate by the "angry" batter. In the chase, Ferrell lost his mustache and sprayed beer on the pursuing hitter. The comedian later sang take "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch and spent a half-inning in the booth with the Express’ radio announcers.
Ferrell was in town to promote his Will Powered Golf Classic on Friday at Cimmaron Hills Country Club benefiting College for Cancer, a charity that provides college scholarships to cancer survivors. The tournament was held in California for the past 16 years, but moved to Texas for the 2010 addition.
While Ferrell helped a good cause and the fans seemed to enjoy the show — a season-high crowd of 10,149 attended the game after rumors of Ferrell’s appearance — the initial announcement of Johnson’s “signing” drew the ire of some Express faithful for signing a former convict.
"Some people got it right away because they knew Will Ferrell was going to be there on Thursday night," Express CEO Reid Ryan told MLB.com. "Other people called and said they couldn't believe we signed this guy because we're a family business."
The press release announcing the signing recounted Johnson’s record both on and off the diamond:
"Johnson, who was born in East Texas but was raised in Venezuela, recently had his prison sentence commuted. He served time for running a smuggling ring that imported rare and illegal species of reptiles into the United States from South America during the mid-to-late 1990s."
The Astros’ National League-low nine wins are no laughing matter, so Johnson could be getting the call up to the show any day now.