Fans of Friends may remember that Chandler Bing was not talented in the realms of athleticism or hand-eye coordination, but his real-life alter ego got a chance to show a national audience on Wednesday that he has some skill for America’s pastime. To promote his new show Go On, Matthew Perry threw the honorary first pitch at the Los Angeles Dodgers game last night.
On the upcoming NBC show, which premieres next week, Perry plays a sports radio host who begrudgingly joins a “life transitions” therapy group following the death of his wife. It’s a fish-out-of-water tale for a man accustomed to the male-dominated world of sports journalism where no one talks with each other about their feelings.
At the Dodgers game (which the San Diego Padres won 4-3), Perry didn’t appear to be completely satisfied with his pitch – which was straight down the middle but came up a bit short – as he walked off the pitcher’s mound shaking his head.
“You’re not used to throwing from the mound. So it bounced, but it bounced close enough to catch it,” Perry told EW in a Dodgers Stadium suite during the game.
Perry, a self-proclaimed Dodgers and Red Sox fan, also announced Los Angeles’ opening line-up, having a little fun with it as he yelled out the Dodgers shortstop’s name: “Luis Cruuuuuuz!”
Costar John Cho and series executive producers Scott Silveri and Karey Nixon all told EW that Perry was very nervous before taking to the pitcher’s mound. The actor clearly took his part in the baseball tradition seriously: “Matthew was practicing all week,” Cho said.
The Harold and Kumar actor, who plays Perry’s boss in Go On, didn’t help Perry by playing catcher, but he did get to be a spectator to Perry’s practice pitches on the Universal lot.
“I do not trust myself with a baseball,” Cho said. “Plus he was doing it at night, which I thought was not advisable. By my trailer, hitting it on occasion. So I watched and tried to not get hit.”
Still, the late-night practice throws seemed to pay off, since Perry got high marks from his sports fan series creator.
“He did great. More velocity would have been fine, but he had a lot of movement,” Silveri said. “If I did it, it’s going sideways, it’s hitting somebody down the third base line. But Matthew – it was straight down the middle – that’s all you want.”
If Perry’s pitch was anything less than perfect, we have one thing we can blame that on: Playing over the stadium’s loud speakers as Perry approached the mound was a song that probably makes him feel the same way Kate Winslet does about “My Heart Will Go On.” Yep, they played Friends theme song “I’ll Be There For You.”
“I think that’s what threw me off,” Perry joked.
Go On premieres on NBC Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 9 p.m.
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