September 30, 2014
MESA, Ariz. — Adam Dunn has nothing on Darwin Barney when it comes to cinematic achievement — except maybe for that invitation to the Academy Awards on Sunday night.
Barney had an actual supporting role in a movie, got an actor’s credit for it that Dunn never got and has his own bio page on the popular movie-info website imdb.com — complete with a trailer that features him.
Barney lost his first, great shot at an Oscar to Christoph Waltz of “Inglourious Basterds” in 2009 because, he said, “I was terrible.”
But as he and the rest of the Cubs learned Saturday, they have the right manager to get an extra day off from spring training if they can earn one of those invitations for the big night of red carpets, cool parties and $85,000 bags of swag. Dunn did with his investment in the production company that made best-picture nominee “Dallas Buyers Club” (in which he has a cameo role as a bartender).
“I’d be pretty impressed, quite frankly, if somebody was invited to do that,” manager Rick Renteria said when asked about the Sox’ decision to let Dunn leave camp for the Oscars and how he’d react if it involved one of his players.
“He’s a guy with a few years of experience under his belt. I think managers in this situation probably are giving him some leeway and allowing him the opportunity of a lifetime. Not everybody gets to the Oscars. You never know who he might rub elbows with.”
Now it’s just up to a thespian-minded Cub to nail the audition and get the call-back for mid-spring party time.
“Absolutely,” pitcher James Russell said. “I might get into [acting].”
Barney just needs a second shot after his big-screen debut in “Calvin Marshall,” a film about baseball, dreams and love that made the film-festival rounds and can be seen via Netflix.
Barney plays “Murphy,” a teammate of the title character on a junior-college team, whose coach is played by Steve Zahn. The only reason he did the movie was because pal Bill Rowe, his old college teammate from Oregon State, produced the flick and twisted his arm.
Barney doubled as a technical expert on the set, helping make the baseball scenes more realistic. Bill’s dad, Douglas, a longtime character actor — “the first one to die in ‘Critters 2,’ as Barney describes him — also is in the movie.
Barney’s biggest disappointment seemed to be that one of his big scenes — in which his character fights a shot putter — didn’t make the final cut “because it was probably terrible.”
But even if Barney did get his big second-chance break, he said he wouldn’t leave spring training to attend the Oscars.
Alas, the world might never get to see him prove that. He said he’s done with the big screen.
“It made me realize how much crazier that life is than ours,” he said. “And ours is pretty crazy.”
NOTE: Games Saturday against the Giants and the Diamondbacks were canceled because of weather. Travis Wood, who had been scheduled to start against the Giants, pitched a two-inning simulation in a covered bullpen.