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09/21/09 9:30 PM ET
Comic Caliendo entertains D-backs
Noted impressionist takes batting practice with pitchers
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- There was plenty of laughter around the batting cage at Chase Field on Monday afternoon. Comedian Frank Caliendo, who lives in nearby Tempe, donned a D-backs jersey and took some cuts with the starting pitchers just prior to the position players hitting. "Why is the ball not going farther?" he asked during one of his rounds. "It's because the roof is closed," third-base coach Chip Hale wisecracked. "If the roof was open, they'd be flying out of here." "I thought it was going to be Home Run Derby," Caliendo said of his session. "But it ended up being pepper." Caliendo is known for his impressions of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as comedian Jay Leno and legendary NFL broadcaster John Madden. "My game is to get on base and agitate the pitcher," Caliendo explained to Arizona ace Dan Haren. "I agitate pitchers." Mark Reynolds, who is second in the National League in home runs, had his game broken down by Caliendo in his best Madden voice with a few "booms" mixed in and Caliendo comparing him to NFL quarterback Brett Farve. When the round of batting practice was finished, the pitchers scurried to pick up the baseballs in the cage. "Hey Frank, part of it is picking up the balls," Hale yelled. "Sorry, I'm from Hollywood, you know how we are," Caliendo said as he quickly tried to help out. When asked about his conditioning, Caliendo said he had recently lost weight. "The good news is I lost 30 pounds," he said. "The bad news is I'm still fat. So what does that tell you about how fat I was to start?" While growing up in Wisconsin, Caliendo's brother, Ricco, threw batting practice to former D-back and current Brewer Craig Counsell. Following batting practice, Caliendo taped a number of spots to be played in-game on the scoreboard urging fans to stand up and cheer in many different voices including former NBA great Charles Barkley. "This is a dream come true for me," Caliendo said. "But, boy, am I going to be sore tomorrow." Caliendo will be appearing Oct. 10 at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix and recently signed a 10-year exclusive agreement to become a permanent headliner at the Monte Carlo on the Las Vegas Strip.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.