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Four Brewers make soap-opera debut05/22/2007 10:31 PM ET
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy had just gotten out of hair and makeup -- and we're not talking eye black -- when he realized that this might cost him in kangaroo court.
"We're going to have to hire a lawyer," Hardy said to teammate Billy Hall. "Start preparing our defense."
A good courtroom scene would have fit right into Tuesday's early field trip to CBS Television City, where Hall, Hardy and pitchers Chris Capuano and Jeff Suppan shot a scene for the soap opera "The Young and the Restless." For the morning, Hardy & Co. traded their bats and gloves for lights and cameras, taking part in the second-most popular show in daytime television.
The most popular? That would be "The Price is Right," which happens to take place just across the hallway at CBS from where the Brewers went to work just after 8 a.m. PT Tuesday. Each of the four players had speaking roles and portrayed themselves, attending a photo-op with Senate candidate Jack Abbott, a character played by soap veteran Peter Bergman.
"The Young and the Restless" has been the top-rated daytime drama for more than 18 years and is in its 35th season. It airs daily in Wisconsin at 11 a.m. CT.
The Brewers' spot is scheduled to air June 20. The team has a 1 p.m. CT game that day against the Giants, and if players are in the clubhouse when the show airs, Hardy knows he might be in trouble.
"I knew that I was going to be [the case] when I first read the script," Hardy said with a laugh. "I went in there thinking, 'I know I'm going to get made fun of, so I'm just going to have some fun doing it. Let what happens later happen.'"
On a bus ride through Beverly Hills on the way to the studio Tuesday, the ribbing started early.
"We've got one shot to make an impression on Hollywood," Capuano said as the bus chugged up Beverly Drive, "and J.J. doesn't know any of his lines."
Hardy was not the only one.
"I know my lines," said Suppan, whose wife, Dana, joined the group for the trip. "I just don't know when to say them."
The players rehearsed a scene set in a conference room in the fictionalized version of Genoa City, Wis., that has been home to "Y&R" since the show debuted in March 1973. Bergman's character was running for Senate and getting ceremonial first pitch tips from Capuano and Suppan at the start of the short scene, which also featured Phyllis Newman (played by Michelle Stafford) and Ben Hollander (Billy Warlock).
After a few run throughs, it was off to hair and makeup, then back to the set for the real thing. Capuano set the over-under on the takes producers would need to get the scene right at three. In true daytime drama fashion, it only took two.
"Michelle and Peter made us feel really comfortable right away," Capuano said. "That's what got me -- how quickly they come in and learn their lines and get it together."
Said Hall: "We had one little scene and look how long it took. They have 40 today. That's definitely harder than baseball."
Hall and the Brewers perform every day in front of tens of thousands of fans. But about six million people watch "Y&R" every day, and the players were on edge. Hardy admitted he had trouble sleeping Monday night.
"I think we were all a little nervous," Hall added. "Especially when you're under the lights and the cameras started rolling. Your heart starts beating and you have to take a few deep breaths."
The Brewers joined a list of athletes to guest star on the show. Packers cornerback Charles Woodson appeared when he was still with the Oakland Raiders, and Los Angeles Lakers big man Luke Walton and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky have also appeared.
Bergman, who has won three Daytime Emmy Awards for his work as Jack Abbott, was impressed with the Brewers.
"It's a very difficult think to do, even for actors, when you come in for only one day," Bergman said. "There might have been some safety in numbers going on, because the guys did great.
"Bill was the big surprise," Bergman said. "He settled right in."
It helped that Hall had a few punch lines. Bergman said he was also impressed with Hardy's ability to go all-in with the scene.
"It isn't as simple as just saying the words," Bergmann said. "The guys were having fun, and that's what it's all about. We've had singers and entertainers come through, and sometimes they can be stiff. These guys were comfortable from the beginning."
Each of the players was paid $367 for their work. Any plans to spend that windfall?
"Rodeo Dr. isn't too far away," Hall said. "That's not going to get us very far, though."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.