Bryan Cranston -- best known as Hal in FOX's "Malcolm in the Middle" -- describes himself as a 10 on a baseball-fandom scale of 1 to 10. The Southern California native and Dodgers season-ticket holder was underwhelmed by an early-season visit to RFK Stadium -- "You feel like you're in a bowl," he said. But Cranston, whose independent film "Last Chance" was released on DVD and video last spring, said he is thrilled to see baseball back in D.C.
Did you play baseball?
I played Little League all the way through. I tore ligaments out of both ankles, and my ankles have never been the same since. I still play in a hardball league, but I have to take care of my ankles.
You still play hardball?
Yeah, I do. Ten years ago I went down to Florida for the Dodger fantasy camp for a week and had such a great time that they invited me to play in their regular league out here. There's so many guys from Southern California that went down there, now we have eight teams and we play year-round. It's great -- wood bats.
Any career highlights from the high school days?
None whatsoever. The only highlight didn't involve me, it involved playing a rival school and watching their shortstop play. We all heard about him, that he was exceptional. And we played him, and he was fantastic, just a terrific prospect, and we were all talking -- 'I bet he gets drafted.' Well, not only did he get drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, but that [next] year he got pulled up into the majors and stayed. Robin Yount. Talk about a mindblower when you're an 18-year old kid.
Kind of discouraging to see someone that age who was that incredible?
Discouraging? No, high school is the age when those kinds of comparisons really come home, you start to really realize, 'Okay, I thought I was really good in such-and-such, now I realize I'm only adequate.' It's kind of a cold-shower, rude-awakening kind of thing, and that's where I really realized, I love this game more than I'm good at it, and that's okay.
Any baseball characters you'd particularly like to play?
Oh, man, would I ever. Yeah, one of my favorite players growing up out here was Don Drysdale because he was a tough-as-nails kind of guy, went right after people, and he had a good story. I'm trying to find great players who had a good story that I sort of resemble, so maybe I can put together a pitch for somebody.
What about Robin Yount?
I don't know. It would go over well in Milwaukee, perhaps, but nowhere else. You know, HBO has a show on about Mantle, Billy Crystal did '61*' about Maris. There'll probably be a Barry Bonds story at some point, but that might be a bit of a stretch for me to play Barry.
So having ripped on RFK, what's your favorite ballpark?
Well, I have to be biased and say Dodger Stadium. Open-air ballpark, you can see mountains and sky and trees in the back, and with all the memories I have connected to that ballpark, going since 1962 when it opened. When I was a little boy going to the park all through the '60s, it, of course, seemed huge. It seemed enormous. And as I get older, it seems smaller and smaller. But that's life.
-- Dan Steinberg