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Will Ferrell strikes out for White Sox before it's too late

Helicopter arrives in ninth inning, allowing five-game, 10-team, 10-position stunt to continue

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Will Ferrell cut it close, but he made it to Camelback Ranch by helicopter in time to pull double duty for both the White Sox and Giants in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Pinch-hitting for Tim Anderson, Ferrell led off for the Sox and struck out on six pitches (thanks, soxfanpa) -- although he came close to putting the ball in play:

Will Ferrrell foul ball

After he struck out, the Sox "traded" him to the Giants, where he suited up in catcher's gear, took warm-up pitches from Jean Machi, gave the infield signs ... and promptly called for an intentional walk before Bruce Bochy lifted him from the game.

It was an entertaining way to close out an otherwise run-of-the-mill 7-4 loss. The only drawback? Ferrell's appearances didn't count. After Bochy pulled him, the walked batter (Joey DeMichele) was removed from first base, and the out was taken off the board. Then play resumed with no outs and Anderson at the plate.

My guess is that playing for both teams in the same inning made it more implausible to pass off as official than Ferrell's other action, but the real consequences of the games were what made his quest compelling to me beyond cheap amusement. In between hamming it up to teammates, umpires and the fans, Ferrell appeared to try his best. And while the games didn't count, it was still a sight to see him treading water in an active, competitive environment. I really wanted to understand the consequences of throwing a random moderately athletic guy out on the field, in order to project my own inadequacies onto a field with major league talent.

The incongruity made it riveting, both in terms of otherwise ordinary plays...

... and in the larger context of the game, too. He clowned it up for the Cubs as a third base coach before later striking out, but he was also actually kinda in charge of sending runners home during a big inning:

Whereas with the Diamondbacks, the Reds ran Ferrell ragged around left field with a few extra-base hits during an inning Arizona manager Chip Hale didn't find all that entertaining:

That's what made this experiment surprisingly suspenseful to me. If the Sox and Giants were able to split Ferrell's duties up beyond  a single half-inning, I'm guessing they would have counted the out and the walk. Instead, the only thing anybody really had riding on it beyond pride was Todd Steverson:

But after watching Steverson coach up Ferrell in the dugout, it would've been money well spent: