He can do it! Schneider takes to the booth
Actor and comedian puts Giants leanings aside to call Dodgers game
Rob Schneider is one of those guys who just seems to have always been around.
Come to think of it, by Hollywood standards, that's pretty accurate. Schneider first appeared on the grand stage a whopping 25 years ago, as a stand-up comedian on "The David Letterman Show." Since then, he's appeared in just about every venue in the entertainment industry, whether it's stage, screen or TV.
And now he has another venture to check off the old bucket list: baseball broadcaster.
Schneider recently spent some time in the booth at Dodger Stadium with MLB.com's Jeremy Brisiel to call an inning of a game between his current hometown team, the Dodgers, and his first hometown team, the Giants. A San Francisco native, Schneider stayed loyal to his roots, wearing a Giants cap while grudgingly admitting he had a little bit of an inferiority complex as a baseball fan growing up in the Bay Area.
Remember, this was pre-AT&T Park. Schneider, like most Giants fans of a certain age, grew up watching games at cold and windy Candlestick Park.
"I grew up not liking the Dodgers," Schneider said. "You guys had the better weather, the better-looking girls, the better teams, the better jerseys. You had the better stadiums."
"They would give you a gift if you stayed until the ninth inning," he said. "It was an achievement."
Schneider's stint in the booth was part of an MLB.com venture called "Expressed Written Consent." The goal is to bring nontraditional broadcasters into the booth and let them have a go at the pastime that's evolved alongside the national pastime: calling the game.
Schneider cut his teeth as a comic and landed a sweet gig with "Saturday Night Live" in 1990 after Lorne Michaels saw his appearance on an HBO young comedians special. During four seasons on SNL, Schneider -- who was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards while on the show -- became a pop culture phenom for a few roles, but none more memorable than that of Richard Laymer.
You remember Laymer -- the office worker who sat behind the copy machine and came up with a never-ending stream of nicknames: "Steve ... the Stevenator ... Steva-rino ... comin' to make some copies!"
Schneider's training as a comic and ad-libber was good preparation for his time in the booth, where broadcasters make a living giving their accounts and descriptions as they see them without much time to figure out what they're going to say. Although Schneider did come to the game prepared -- he brought a stack of notes with him -- he also was clearly at ease with the spontaneity of the exercise.
Schneider talked about the Astros' rainbow jerseys of the 1970s and used that as a springboard to a discussion about the Padres' jerseys in 1984, a World Series year.
Schneider then called a play at the plate, during which Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis was thrown out trying to score from second.
"That's tough," Schneider said. "In that situation, a guy's supposed to score from second. I don't care who you are. You have to have a really good throw, you have to have a really good catch and you have to have a guy who's slow as a truck. Luckily, all three of those things happened."
MLB.com will be unveiling more original broadcasts over the next several weeks. Among the new crop are Bill and Willie Geist, John Henson and Darrell Hammond. So bookmark EWC to see which storyteller's story is the most fun and whose future in the booth is brightest.