Comic Relief in Cooperstown
By Bill Francis
Though comedian and actor Brody Stevens has been busy working of late, he stopped in Cooperstown on Monday to revisit his past.
While Stevens, seen in such movies as The Hangover, The Hangover Part II and Due Date, is currently performing all over the country on a comedy tour with Dave Chappelle and Flight of the Conchords, the former collegiate pitcher at Arizona State in the late 1980 and early 1990s, then known by his given name of Steve Brody, wanted to check an item off his “bucket list.”
“I hadn’t been here, ever, but I’ve been wanting to,” he said after a late-afternoon tour. “It was something on my list and now I can cross it off. But you know what? I’m coming back. I already know that I’m coming back here. It’s definitely been a blast.”
The righty pitcher, who started four games for the Sun Devils, was teammates with such future big leaguers as Paul Lo Duca, Fernando Vina and Jacob Cruz. He even appeared in a game against Stanford’s Mike Mussina.
“I wasn’t a top recruit but they thought I had a good arm and I felt that I would have the opportunity to play there,” said the former Los Angeles-area scholastic star. “ArizonaState had a JV program, so at the very least I was still going to get to face junior colleges and be in Arizona around spring training. That’s what I wanted to do as well, was to be around that hub of baseball.”
While elbow surgery ultimately helped to curtail his baseball dreams, as he finished school by compiling a 3-1 record in 14 appearances, a career as another sort of entertainer would be just around the corner.
“I do talk about baseball in my act,” Stevens said. “I go, ‘I get lonely. Sometimes I go down to the batting cage just to play catch,’ or, ‘I was very intense. Twice I charged the mound in tee ball.’
“I do have that mentality of pitching when I’m doing comedy,” the Los Angeles Dodgers fan added. “I feel as though I’m on the mound and the audience, they’re like a hitter, and I’ve got to keep them off-balance, push ‘em back, maybe challenge them a little bit, throw a curveball here and there. I know how to pitch, and I take that energy and approach into comedy.”
Before continuing his Hall of Fame tour, a hopeful Stevens added, “I want to stay here all night. Maybe if there’s a couch or something …”
Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum