Lisa Whelchel and returning castmembers Michael Skupin, Russell Swan and Jonathan Penner aren’t the only familiar faces viewers will see on tonight’s (Sept. 19) 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Philippines.”
Retired Major League Baseball All-Star Jeff Kent, 44, is starting this season on Penner’s Kalabaw tribe. The record-setting second baseman had a reputation in the league for his quick temper, but he seemed downright serene when we chatted with him before the game began in the Philippines.
But a lot can change when you have to endure rain, hunger and exhaustion, all while trying to outwit, outlast and outplay your tribemates.
“I can snap, absolutely,” Kent acknowledged to us. “I’m just competitive — that’s my nature. I hate to lose. I try to do everything I can to win, when it doesn’t come my way I get ticked off.”
But he realizes “Survivor” is a whole different ballgame. “You’re dealing with people’s personalities and emotions, unlike [baseball], where it’s more mechanical and you produce the results. A lot of the results you produce in this game are dependent upon other people. So that’s going to be a big challenge.”
When we asked the other Castaways to assess their competition before the game, none of them called out either Whelchel or Kent as a celebrity — which is how the baseballer likes it.
“I’m hoping these people don’t recognize me,” he told us. “I think that stigma of being an athlete and making a lot of money might flow the wrong way with some people, so I’m going to try to hide that the best I can.”
That said, “I don’t know too many white guys with mustaches walking around, and when I played I got criticized for wearing an ’80s mustache in the ’90s and 2000.”
Of course, the newbies were sequestered away from the returning players — and if anyone recognizes Kent it would be Penner, who is closer to his age and lives in Los Angeles, home of the Dodgers and Kent’s last team.
“The biggest problem I’m going to have is an alpha male,” Penner predicted to us before meeting his new tribemates — and Kent, who readily admitted:
“I can be a hothead in baseball [and] I can be too aggressive at times.”
But he added, “I’m pretty quiet too.”
So how will Kent get along with self-described “loudmouth” Penner? They could form the perfect Odd Couple alliance — or target each other from the start.
How far do you think the multimillionaire baseball star will go in “Survivor”? Will he team up with Penner or try to tag him out?
“Survivor: Philippines” premieres tonight (8-9:30 p.m.) on CBS.