Many people find Will Ferrell quite amusing. John Madden is not one of those people.
The actor took over MLB spring training Thursday, suiting up for 10 different teams and playing all 10 positions in five Cactus League games. The day-long stunt, documented by HBO and Funny or Die, helped raise awareness for Stand Up to Cancer and even earned Ferrell his own Baseball Reference page.
The event drew plenty of laughs and a ton of movie quotes, but Madden wasn’t in a joking mood when he weighed in on Farrell’s stunt during a radio interview with KCBS.
“I hate it,” the legendary NFL coach and broadcaster said, via CBS San Francisco. “That’s a lack of respect. That’s a lack of respect for the game and a (lack of) respect for what players have to do to get where they are.”
Madden continued, recalling the time NBA star Rick Barry stopped by an Oakland Raiders practice hoping to get in on the action. The Hall of Fame coach told his players to show no mercy.
“Jack Tatum and George Atkinson walked by and I said, ‘Look, if this guy comes out on the field, he’s live bait and I want you to go after him the way you would go after any other player that plays on another team,'” Madden said.
We get where Madden is coming from, but he might be taking Ferrell’s well-intentioned tour a bit too seriously. Spring training games aren’t exactly the pinnacle of athletic competition, and some starters don’t even travel to away games.
Ferrell interrupted a small portion of five meaningless spring training games, raising nearly $1 million for charity and bringing a ton of publicity to the game in the process. That’s a trade-off we probably can live with, even if Madden can’t.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images