He’s a natural for the project, wouldn’t you agree?
He starred in one of the most famous fictional baseball movies of all time. Now Robert Redford looks to play one of the most famous real-life baseball figures of all time. The “Natural” star is on board to play Branch Rickey in a long-gestating, recently jump-started version of a historical drama involving the Brooklyn Dodgers executive and Jackie Robinson, the black player he famously signed.
Of course, if Redford takes the kind of liberties with the Branch Rickey story that he took with the source material for the “The Natural,” the flick will end with Rickey, after his move to the Pirates front office, trading for Robinson before the 1954 season and, rather than losing 101 games that year, they go on to beat the Indians in the World Series, knocking out racism — in the form of a grinning Chief Wahoo — a second time.
OK, I’d probably pay to see that movie actually.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.