Baseball and the Entertainment Industry go together like Kenny Powers and Myrtle Beach. For those of you who don’t get that analogy it means that they go together quite well. There are many TV and Movie productions that have been written about baseball throughout the years. Some have been epic…some have been dull. Some funny…some sad. Some had great acting and storylines…others had the quality of a Steven Seagal movie (I’m talking to you Tom Selleck and Mr. Baseball).
One TV show that has become one of my favorites recently is HBO’s show Eastbound and Down. Eastbound and Down is about a drunken ex-baseball pitcher named Kenny Powers who finds himself in his hometown as a subsitute teacher. Powers desperately wants to make it back to the majors and will do anything to get there. The show chronicles Kenny’s journey as he tries to make it back to the majors…ranging anywhere from his interactions with people in his hometown to his experience in the Mexican Baseball League. The show isn’t for those who don’t appreciate crude and obnoxious humor but it is truly 1 of the better viewing programs out there.
In the third and final season of Eastbound and Down, we watch Kenny as he gets a job as a relief pitcher for the fictional Myrtle Beach Mermen (the really sweet logo above). Myrtle Beach is the Jersey Shore of the South and Kenny Powers is the poster boy for crude red necks everywhere…so it really gives the viewer quite the comedic experience as Kenny navigates himself through the minor league landscape.
What some people may not know is that the Mermen are based off a real minor league team. The team is based off of the Advanced Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans Baseball Team. All of the baseball seasons during the 3rd season were filmed at Myrtle Beach’s TicketReturn.com Field and brought a good deal of notority during the offseason. The idea of basing the Mermen off the Pelican’s baseball team actually came from the Pelican’s owner (and Texas Rangers owner) Chuck Greenberg. Greenberg happened to be a huge Eastbound and Down fan and when he heard that the script called for Kenny to move to Myrtle Beach…he knew that he needed to include the Pelicans organization in on the fun. Here’s a transcript for Sports Business Daily’s Interview with Chuck Greenberg, in which he describes his experience with the filming of Eastbound and Down. It’s a good read for Eastbound fans.
For all of you Eastbound fans like myself who think the Mermen gear is really awesome…have no fear it’s available! Here is the Pelican’s official Press Release of the availability of the Eastbound and Down gear as well as the link to their official Pro Shop where you can buy the official Mermen gear.
Rest assured that there will be more Eastbound and Down-related posts throughout the summer as it is arguably 1 of the best pieces of media ever written about minor league baseball…yes it’s better then Bull Durham! I will also be writing a post here or there about another entertainment pieces that are related to minor league baseball.
Keep your guys posted for more Kenny Powers-related posts in the near future!