Actor Pollak grabs mic at Kauffman Stadium
Comedian steps into the booth to talk baseball, movies and Walken
Kevin Pollak -- actor, comedian, master impressionist -- spent an inning in a broadcast booth with MLB.com's Jeremy Brisiel during a Cardinals victory over his beloved Royals in a mid-summer Interleague matchup at Kauffman Stadium.
The broadcast is part of a new MLB.com venture called "Expressed Written Consent." The goal is to bring nontraditional broadcasters into the booth, to have a go at the pastime that's evolved alongside the national pastime: calling the game.
Perhaps because he's most comfortable when he's taking on the persona of a celebrity other than himself, Pollak spent the first part of the broadcast not as Kevin Pollak, but as actor Christopher Walken.
Walken's unique speech patterns and deadpan delivery have made him not only one of the more recognizable Hollywood figures, but also one of the most imitated. Although he's 69 years old, he has cemented his place in pop culture among Gen X-ers and Millenials, thanks in part to his hilarious contributions to the hit movie "Wedding Crashers," and his many appearances on "Saturday Night Live" (anyone remember "Gotta Have More Cowbell"?).
Pollak's impression of Walken is spot-on, which basically means that anything Pollak says while acting as Walken comes out funny, even if it's an innocuous statement that's odd and doesn't really fit into a traditional baseball broadcast.
Brisiel asked Pollak (er, Walken) if he'd like to take over the play-by-play, and Walken (Pollak?) said, "Sure. Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do."
Brisiel: "Because of the pouch?"
Pollak/Walken: "Because they're fast."
The chatter shifted to the mid-1990s hit movie, "A Few Good Men," which catapulted Pollak from relative obscurity to superstardom. Interestingly, Pollak's recollections about shooting that movie included a lot of baseball references.
He recalled the advice director Rob Reiner gave him as he was preparing to work alongside three of Hollywood's biggest stars -- Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise and Demi Moore.
"'Listen, Jack's going to be hitting the ball out every time he opens his mouth,'" Pollak recalled Reiner telling him. "'Tom's going to be swinging for the fences to kind of go toe-to-toe with Jack, and Demi's going to be swinging real hard to keep up with the boys. I need you to hit one to the gap, maybe bring in a run.' It was the perfect analogy for me to understand."
Pollak didn't need baseball-speak to recount a hilarious, possibly -- just slightly -- embellished account of Nicholson politely telling Pollak to tell his mother, visiting the set to watch her son in action, to kindly stop hitting on him.
It's a story that is best told by Pollak telling it as Nicholson. Maybe you had to be there, and thanks to Expressed Written Consent, you are.
MLB.com will be unveiling more original broadcasts over the next several weeks. Among the new crop are Bill and Willie Geist, Rob Schneider and John Henson. So bookmark EWC to see which storyteller's story is the most fun and whose future in the booth is brightest.