Ever since the days when Babe Ruth was acting alongside Gary Cooper, actors and baseball players have shared a unique bond. Now, with the MLB playoffs underway, don’t be surprised if you see some of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the stands with a box of Cracker Jack.
If your team is already eliminated, perhaps you’d consider rooting for the team of your favorite actor. But who do you love more: “Wet Hot American Summer” buddies Jon Hamm or Paul Rudd? Veteran actors Bill Murray or Samuel L. Jackson? Read on for the top celebrity fan of each playoff team — oh, and if you see Billy Crystal and Michael Keaton, please offer them our condolences.
Kansas City Royals: Paul Rudd
Although he was born in New Jersey, when the “Ant-Man” star was ten he moved to Overland Park, Kansas just in time to watch George Brett almost hit .400 for the first time since Ted Williams. Like a lot of KC fans, Rudd didn’t find a lot to get excited about as his career skyrocketed in the Nineties and early 2000’s. But last season, the emergence of Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and the rest of the young team had Rudd wearing his jersey with pride and re-arranging his schedule to be there in person for as much of their 2014 postseason winning streak as possible, getting quite emotional. This season, the Royals dominated during the regular season — and if they can finally win their first World Series since he was 15 years old, Rudd is making plans to party at his mom’s house.
Toronto Blue Jays: Avril Lavigne
Much like Rudd, Lavigne came of age at a time when her region’s team was in its heyday, and has been hoping for much of adulthood that they’d get their mojo back. Now, the Canadian rocker is undoubtedly looking at the likes of Josh Donaldson, David Price and Jose Bautista and flashing back to the 1992-1993 back-to-back World Champion teams that she rooted for as she turned ten years old.
Texas Rangers: George H.W. Bush
Houston Astros: George W. Bush
Oddly enough, the younger Bush co-owned the Rangers for five years (it was under his regime that the team infamously traded a young Sammy Sosa), but he grew up as an Astros fan and undoubtedly has a soft spot for one-handed home run hitter Evan Gattis. The elder Bush, who played in the College World Series, named his beloved dog after his favorite baseball team and most likely dreams of being able to celebrate the team’s first world championship by rubbing Adrian Beltre’s head. So, if the Rangers end up playing the Astros and you want to cheer, you might have to ask yourself which ex-president you like better: 41 or 43. Or, if you’re a Democrat, you can just root for the National League.
St. Louis Cardinals: Jon Hamm
You might think that you know Jon Hamm as a tall, handsome “Mad Men” actor who occasionally lets people see his funny side. But you can’t even call yourself a fan until you’ve listened to Hamm on the “Sklarbro County” podcast, geeking out over obscure Cardinals players with fellow St. Louis natives Randy and Jason Sklar. And the Cardinals love him back — they gave the actor his very own bobblehead night, perhaps because when he needed to sing “Meet the Mets” on “Mad Men” he purposefully made sure that Don Draper did it ironically. How do you know that Hamm is a hardcore fan? One of his favorite players of all-time is relatively obscure ’80’s second baseman Tommy Herr.
New York Mets: Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart
They are two of the funniest men of their generation, and both the “Seinfeld” star and the “Daily Show” host had an essential element of their personalities defined by the success of the ’80’s hard-partying World Series champs — and their subsequent, repeated, miserable attempts to win in the decades since. But wait — now that the Mets have an incredible rotation anchored by The Dark Knight and Thor and are back in the playoffs, could they finally win the World Series again? And if they did, what would Jon and Jerry have to complain about?
Los Angeles Dodgers: Samuel L. Jackson
If you ask the highest-grossing actor in the history of Hollywood, he’ll probably tell you that he’d take golf over baseball any day. But when Samuel L. Jackson is in the mood for a game, he’s always got his Dodgers cap on. The man otherwise known as Nick Fury has been seen hanging out with Tommy Lasorda and Yasiel Puig, and you can bet that if the home team is losing in the later innings of the playoffs, they’ll go to his Dodger Stadium video to get the fans excited. Once the Dodgers get past Greinke and Kershaw, their rotation has issues — but if all else fails, Don Mattingly could just look into the stands and call on Jackson to pitch. He might not have much of a fastball, but he’d be able to intimidate batters like the second coming of Bob Gibson.
The Cubs: Bill Murray
Bill Murray is one of the oldest people on this list, and he is also one of the only entries who has never seen his team win the World Series. So, if you love Bill Murray (and come on, who doesn’t?), you might find yourself rooting for the North Siders, if only because a championship would bring happiness to someone who has given us so much joy. It’s not overstating things to say that the Cubbies hold the organized sports record for most years between championships — the last time they won was 107 years ago! — so by very definition, they are the greatest underdog of all time. But like any good Cubs fan, Murray has stuck with the team through all their bad years, and now Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant, Jake Arrieta and the rest of Joe Maddon’s team has given them faith that they can finally lay the goat to rest. Like Bill Murray in “Stripes,” or Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters” or … well, Bill Murray in anything … people weren’t expecting much from the Cubs, but this plucky little team might just have what it takes.