7/10/2014 10:00 A.M. ET
Actor Sorbo joins 'Express Written Consent'
'Hercules' star tells tales of nostalgia from booth at recent Dodgers game
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
Kevin Sorbo recalled his most memorable baseball experience, which took place, incidentally, in a broadcast booth during the height of his acting career.
Sorbo was starring in the science fiction television series "Andromeda," which was produced by Tribune Entertainment, owned by, of course, the Chicago Tribune, which also owned the Cubs.
That connection led to Sorbo throwing out a ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field, where he was screamed at by Cubs faithful -- "calling me names, giving me the business," Sorbo recalled -- after which he was ushered to the broadcast booth to banter for a bit with iconic announcer Harry Caray.
As most of us remember, Caray had his own special knack for names -- mostly in the form of butchering the pronunciations. He had no problem saying "Sorbo," however. He just was confused on its origin.
"Harry kept asking me if I was Italian," Sorbo said during the most recent airing of "Express Written Consent." "He thought I was Italian because my name ends with a vowel."
For the record, Sorbo isn't Italian. He's of Norwegian descent. Sorbo is also, incidentally, from Mound, Minn., located about 30 miles west of Minneapolis -- host site of the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Sorbo has centered his yearly two-week summer trek back to his hometown around the All-Star festivities, which include the Taco Bell Legends and Celebrity softball game, a longstanding All-Star weekend tradition and one that Sorbo will be a part of this time around.
"I'm also taking my kids to the Home Run Derby, and we're going to the game," Sorbo revealed.
Sorbo's recent spin in the EWC booth, where he chatted with MLB.com host Jeremy Brisiel, took us down somewhat of a nostalgic road that included a look back at what catapulted Sorbo into mainstream America: "Hercules."
Sorbo played the title character in the series that began in 1994 and wrapped in '99 and produced a spinoff, the popular "Xena: Warrior Princess." It also gave Sorbo some pretty heady life lessons that he wasn't necessarily anticipating, but enriched his life to the point where he wrote a book about it.
The book, published in 2011 and titled "True Strength," details a major health scare Sorbo experienced in between tapings of Seasons No. 4 and 5 of "Hercules." He discovered a lump in his left shoulder, but before he could have it biopsied, he suffered an aneurism in the arm. That led to a series of three strokes, and while Sorbo was able to recover, he lost 10 percent of his eyesight in each eye and had to work feverishly to learn to walk and balance again.
The studio kept the news close to the vest, eliminating having to deal with the issue in the public. After four months of rehab, Sorbo was back on the set. But he later reflected on the experience and understood he was very lucky to have gotten through the illness as well as he did, and he wanted to parlay those experiences to help others. So, Sorbo wrote about it.
"We're all going to hit a road block one day," Sorbo said. "How to we react to that road block?"
Sorbo speaks at churches and hospitals about the ordeal, and last year, he shared his experiences with 1,600 neurologists at a convention in San Diego.
"The book is about not feeling sorry for yourself," Sorbo said. "How do you deal with things in a positive way?"
The setback did anything but set Sorbo back. Now 55, with a wife and three kids, the actor is constantly on the move. His most recent film, "God's Not Dead," has just wrapped up in theaters, and he is currently shooting a handful of movies.
Sorbo also just sold a new series to the Hallmark Channel titled "Can't Get Arrested," about a fledgling actor who hasn't worked in 10 years, moves back to Portland, Ore., and joins his dad in the police force. Filming will begin in August in Vancouver.
While the list of celebrities that count Minnesota as their home state isn't exactly extensive, there have been some pretty interesting folks to come out of the North Star state. Native son Sorbo was given a list of arguably the top three to rank in the regular exercise, "Start, Bench, Cut:" Bob Dylan, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Prince.
"Start Prince," Sorbo said. "He'll walk every single time, he's so short."
Fitzgerald got benched, while Dylan, apparently, got the heave-ho.
"Cut Dylan," Sorbo barbed. "Because I can't understand a word he says."