Comedians Randy and Jason Sklar are first-pitch throwing twin crusaders for Jose Oquendo. They will be in St. Louis on Saturday throwing out the first pitch at Busch Stadium on Jose Oquendo Bobblehead Day and performing at The Demo in St. Louis following the game (tickets here). If you have a chance to see them live, do it.
I first heard of the Sklar Brothers when they aired their show, Cheap Seats, on the ESPN family of networks a decade ago. As part of their work on ESPN, they aired a special program attempting to enshrine Jose Oquendo in the Hall of Fame. They have also starred in United Stats of America on the History channel. Their podcast, Sklarbro Country, does a great job of combining comedy and sports. They were one of the first dozen twitter accounts I followed when I first started on twitter more than three years ago. You can follow them @sklarbros.
Couldn't be more excited to throw out the 1st pitch @cardinals game this Sat. 4 Oquendo bobble head night, then show @demoSTL at 11:00— The Sklar Brothers (@SklarBrothers) September 17, 2014
I heard they were going to be in St. Louis, so I reached out about answering a few questions. The Brothers Sklar, lifelong Cardinals fans, were gracious enough to answer a few questions.
For both of you, Jose Oquendo was your favorite player growing up. On teams with Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee, what drew you to Oquendo?
SB: Oquendo was the epitome of a guy who made other people better. He did it all. He was a 9 tool player. It was fun to come to the ballpark and not know where he was going to be playing. It was the baseball version of Where's Waldo. And as we've gotten older and entrenched in our own careers in the entertainment industry we've realized that we are the Oquendo's of comedy. We host radio shows, do a podcast, act, write, host television shows. We hustle like he did and so we identify with him on a deep level.
In 2004 on your ESPN show Cheap Seats, you guys attempted to get Oquendo to Cooperstown as the ultimate utility man. He has yet to be enshrined, but you got him a plaque on the utility closet, and you are now throwing out the first pitch on his bobblehead day. Do you consider this your reward ten years in the making?
SB: It was actually in 2006 when our Oquendo Quest For Cooperstown first aired on ESPN 2. People really responded to that program. And yes, we do see throwing out the first pitch as a culmination of our efforts. Any chance we get to shine a light on the Secret Weapon, we will be there to do it -- and this is one of those moments.
Will you throw your pitches at the same time? Who gets to have Oquendo as catcher?
SB: We plan on throwing one after the other -- we have thrown out a first pitch in Cleveland at the Prog a few years back and that's how we did it. Just think of us as two 50 Cents. Collectively we are a dollar. Hopefully we'll both get to throw to Oquendo.
Who is more likely to bounce the pitch, Randy or Jason?
SB: I think Jason is more likely to bounce a pitch. Randy is throwing submarine style which tends to rise as a pitch. He may get the catcher up on his feet. Jason is planning on throwing a hook and every once in a while you gotta bounce a curve ball, out of the zone, just to get the fictitious batter to chase a bad pitch.
Which of you is grittier?
SB: I'd say we're both pretty gritty. But Randy just got a record player from his wife for his birthday and he's been getting into some old vinyl. So he's probably a bit grittier these days.
Who is more crotchety, Bud Selig or Al Hrabosky?
SB: The Mad Hungarian all the way. He was crotchety as a young man, it just manifested itself as spunk. Ask any rosin bag he threw down who was more crotchety and you'll hear that it's no contest.
You're Commissioner for a day. What changes do you make?
SB: We first bring back running into the catcher. Then we bring back Pete Rose, and we have him run into a series of catchers, if he doesn't dislocate his shoulder he gets into the Hall of Fame.
Jose Oquendo was the Secret Weapon. We nicknamed Carlos Martinez "El Gallo" for the way he struts around the mound. If you could give any nickname to a current Cardinals player, what would it be?
SB: Matt Adams -- Meat Adams. -- Meat for short.
Do you have a Game 6 story?
SB: World Series game six, we were filming our show United Stats of America for the History Channel on location in Denver, and our director of photography asked us if we wanted to go out to a sports bar in Denver to watch with him and his buddy. We reluctantly agreed, because we were worried about spilling our anger and frustration in a public display that would shame us for life. It was an elimination game for the Cards after all. But we went, and things got ugly. The Cards got down and we got apoplectic. We were sure that someone was going to secretly record us with their camera phones and post it on you tube and it would become an internet meme. Then Derek Holland scored while wearing a windbreaker and at that point we decided to call for the check and head back to our hotel and watch the end of the game in dark rooms to match our moods. But as we were waiting for the check, Allen Craig hits a dinger. So we jump in a cab and rush back to our hotel bar and watch the rest of the game there while we called our Mom who still lives in St. Louis and had her on speaker phone so we all could "watch" together. We didn't even hear Joe Buck's classic call of the Freese Homerun -- "And we will see you...Tomorrow Night!" -- a harkening back to his father, Jack Buck, the voice of our Cardinal childhood's call of Kirby Pucket's game six world series homerun two decades earlier. Joe Buck had just lost his father and we had lost our father two years earlier. It was truly an emotional moment for us on every level. No one would've loved that homerun more than our father, and we're going to assume Jack Buck as well.
Sklarbitrate: Better celebrity fans for the Royals or Cardinals?
SB: Royals have amazing celeb fans -- Eric Stonestreet, Rob Riggle, Jason Sudekis, Paul Rudd... pretty formidable and they've had very little to cheer about since Denkinger blew the call and gave them the World Series in 1985. Cards have Jon Hamm. Advantage Royals.
Do you perform a different show in St. Louis than other cities knowing you will have an audience of Cardinals' fans?
SB: Our show is the same wherever we perform. We like to add a few local jokes wherever we perform. We just happen to be closer to heart of St. Louis. We know the difference between Schnucks and Dierbergs.
Predictions on the rest of the season? Will the Cards make it back to the World Series?
SB: The Cards will definitely make the post season. The Dodgers are going to be tough to beat. It would be phenomenal for the Cards to play the Royals again, or the Orioles, or even better the Angels. But getting through Kershaw and the Dodgers is going to be a tall order. But if any team can do it, it's the Cardinals -- there is post season magic that always seems to touch this team. Our fingers are crossed. Who knows, maybe we'll be the rally squirrels of this year and they'll have us back to throw out the first pitch of every World Series Game in St. Louis.
SB: New Tennis Album is fantastic, F.J. McMahon (lost album), Langhorne Slim, Har Mar Superstar, Bamboo, Glossary, Tanlines, Class Actress, Vacationer, Chvrches, Alvvays