Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz joined Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde at Turner Field last November to film scenes for “The Change-Up.”
The buddy flick also starring Leslie Mann and Jason Bateman shot a huge scene there, and Smoltz was to play himself in a cameo. (Actually he was going to billed as a pitching coach). It was freezing that day but, pro that he is, Smoltz got suited up and put his game face on.
“Putting on the uniform was kind of weird,” Smoltz told us about a month after the filming. “But it still fit!”
Well, after putting in long hours on a brisk November morning for a command cameo, the segments with Smoltz apparently ended up on the cutting room floor. But he isn’t complaining.
Reviews for the movie, which was filmed all over Atlanta, have been pretty bad. Here’s the opening paragraph of Roger Ebert’s review: ” ‘The Change-Up is one of the dirtiest-minded mainstream releases in history. It has a low opinion of men, a lower opinion of women, and the lowest opinion of the intelligence of its audience. It is obscene, foulmouthed, scatological, creepy and perverted. As a bonus, it has the shabbiest low-rent main titles I’ve seen this side of YouTube.”
Smoltz and his wife went to a screening here locally. He didn’t want to be quoted on his opinion on the movie, but it’s safe to assume he would not take issue with Mr. Ebert.
“Let’s just say I didn’t make it (into the film), and that’s a shame, but that’s show business,” Smoltz said with a chuckle.
Anyway, onto something more pleasant. Smoltz was back in uniform, sort of, Wednesday morning at Turner Field to launch a new charity initiative to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Donors who drop off 10 cans of food at the participating Chevrolet dealerships receive a free ticket to the Braves vs. Nationals game on Sept. 14. If you test drive a new Chevy, AutoTrader.com will make a $10 donation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and you’re entered to win a Braves suite for you and 15 friends. Full details are posted here.
“I am so thrilled to be partnering up with AutoTrader and the Atlanta Braves,” said Smoltz, wearing an AutoTrader jersey with his name on the back. “I enourage people to test drive a new Chevrolet – that would be fun!”
He said coming to the stadium without a game to play is still a little odd but he’s enjoyed the transition to broadcasting. If you listen regularly to his commentary, you know his fondness for sometimes corny quips.
“I had a blast,” he said. “When you get John Smoltz, you get all of John Smoltz.”
He says he doesn’t miss life as a player, given the rigors of a professional ball career and the physical stress it entails. “When I was a player, I worked so hard,” Smoltz said. “When I look back I think, I can’t believe how hard I worked.”
For now, he’s enjoying life as a broadcaster and philanthropic advocate.
“I’m busier than ever,” he said. “I knew there wouldn’t be full retirement for me.”
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org