Cake or pie?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eastbound & Down

I just watched the series premiere of Eastbound & Down, a new series on HBO starring Danny McBride, who was in Tropic Thunder, where he played Cody, the demolitions/pyro guy on the set, and Pineapple Express, where he played Red (and had that sweet sweet fight scene with Seth Rogen and James Franco), and the awesome Foot Fist Way.

McBride plays a down and out pitcher, who broke into the bigs with Atlanta, and the montage had him end up a journeyman in Seattle, and he lost a lot of pop, or velocity, off his fastball when he was off steroids (high 80s off steroids versus "101" on steroids in the stock radar gun shot). So the show opens with him back in his hometown (not sure where, but apparently they filmed in Wilmington, NC... I've been there, lovely town), and he has to have a job so he can have his wages garnished, so he takes a job as a substitute teacher at a middle school where an ex-girlfriend teaches (and is engaged to the yoga practitioner, nice guy principal), and is living at his older brother's house with his brother, brother's wife, and brother's kids (and his jetski). The premiere sets up a lot of nice tension and opportunities for conflict, and it seems like a pretty ripe setting for comedy, and I can't wait for more episodes. I love his catch-phrase, I guess he closed out a World Series-winning game as a rookie, and after striking out the final batter with a full count and the bases loaded, he yells "You're fucking out!" and throws up two middle finger salutes, and later in the montage in his career, at first the crowd yells with him when he accomplishes great things pitching, and finally they turn on him, yelling it against him at his final appearance pitching for Seattle.

I pitched in middle school and high school, along with playing pretty much every other position other than C & 1B. I can only imagine the reaction I would have gotten in 7th grade, after striking out a batter and yelling "You're fucking out!" at him. If I have a son, maybe I can get him to do it? Just kidding. One thing I loved about pitching is the game is literally in your hands. I'm not a control freak, but I liked being able to dictate the pace of the game, and I was a pretty accurate pitcher with decent velocity. I realized pretty quickly though that I didn't have what it takes to make it past maybe Div II ball in college so I focused my time and energy elsewhere.

Getting back to the show, I liked it a lot. I'm not one of the people that think the Apatow gang or Will Ferrell can do no wrong, and that includes Danny McBride, but I've yet to see him in something where he didn't give a great performance (other than he has bad mechanics for being a major league pitcher in Eastbound & Down). He looks like more of a slinger than a talented pitcher as far as his mechanics look. I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I liked it a lot.

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