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Actor Ferrell pitches for Express05/07/2010 3:41 AM ET
By Danny Wild / MLB.com
Round Rock fell to Nashville, 3-1, on Thursday night, but it was the debut of the team's newest reliever that had fans buzzing.
Billy Ray "Rojo" Johnson, wearing No. 99 and adorned with glitzy necklaces, cans of beer and a bushy mustache, threw one pitch before being ejected and chased around the field by a Nashville batter. Well, sort of.
"Rojo," once the mustache fell off, appeared to be Will Ferrell, best known for his roles on "Saturday Night Live" and movies like "Anchorman," "Old School" and "Talladega Nights." He was in the area to promote The Will Powered Golf Classic on Friday at Cimmaron Hills Country Club, which benefits College for Cancer, an organization that provides scholarships to cancer survivors.
Ferrell entered the game in the sixth inning dressed as "Rojo," an American-born pitcher raised in Venezuela who, according to the Express, had recently walked early on a prison sentence for the "illegal importation of countless species of reptiles, including various types of rare snakes, lizards, iguanas, turtles and galliwasps."
The team also said Johnson was known for his temper. Sure enough, the right-hander threw behind the first batter he faced, was ejected, tossed his glove and sprayed beer at a Sounds player before pummeling him in the outfield in a tribute to Nolan Ryan.
Johnson also appeared to have taken a bag of beer cans with him to the mound.
"Mentally, I feel like I have the strength of 10 men, after that," Johnson, who ripped off his mustache during the on-field chase, told reporters in a postgame press conference.
"Nashville showed a lot of stuff tonight," he added. "They've got a lot of moxie."
The Express said it was a great event the organization could not pass up.
"This opportunity just came out of nowhere," Ferrell told MLB.com. "We were coming to town to promote our first Texas fundraiser when [Express CEO] Reid Ryan from the Express reached out to us with this great idea for promoting the event, and 'Rojo' was born. The Ryan family and the entire staff with the Express were just awesome. I had a blast out there, and I especially enjoyed the camaraderie of my new teammates. We will be houseboating together this weekend."
Reid said the club welcomed the opportunity to have the popular actor visit and pitch.
"We've never done anything like this before," Ryan said. "It was really a stretch for us, and we thought long and hard about it, but to have the opportunity to have one of Hollywood's biggest stars. Will Ferrell is the king of comedy right now."
The videos of Ferrell have been circulating the internet, and as the buzz around his performance grows, it only further helps bring focus on his charity golf tournament this weekend.
"It's great to have him come to a facility like ours and do something special and interact with the players and fans to make a memory for the people, as well as promote a great cause," Reid said.
Sounds general manager George King said the organization embraced the event and called it "fun" for Minor League Baseball in general.
"Reid called me and said we're going to do this little thing on there, we've asked your team for a uniform top," King said. "That's all I knew. I just knew Will Ferrell was involved. That's about it.
"Minor League Baseball is about fun promotion," King added. "If that's what worked in their ballpark, then it's good for them, absolutely."