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Freddie Prinze Jr.

Page 2 staff

Freddie Prinze Jr. brings some serious heat in the new baseball movie "Summer Catch," which opens nationwide this weekend.

Freddie Prinze Jr.
Freddie Prinze Jr. says he was hitting the low 80s on the radar gun during the filming of "Summer Catch."
Although he plays a left-handed pitching prospect in the Cape Cod League, Prinze Jr. faced some fastballs this week as he dug in to answer Page 2's 10 Burning Questions.

1. Page 2: Did you play much baseball as a kid?
Prinze Jr.: I played Little League. I was a "pitcher." But we had a pitching machine, so I was just basically an "in-infield" shortstop because all I got to do was field bloopers six feet from the plate. I couldn't hit, so that was pretty much my entire job.

2. How'd you learn to pitch -- or at least look like a pitcher?
Prinze Jr.: When I got the movie, I didn't want to look like a jerk, so I asked for a baseball coach. They got me the Rockies' major-league pitching scout, and they got me Bill Landrum, who used to pitch for the Pirates, Reds, Cubs and Expos in the late '80s.

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Prinze Jr. is engaged to "Buffy the Vampire" star Sarah Michelle Gellar.
They literally taught me how to pitch from scratch, so I never got a chance to develop bad mechanics. They wouldn't even let me hold a real baseball until I had it down! I had to use tennis balls, or an orange from my lunch.

2a. How much "heat" did you have?
Prinze Jr.: I threw around 82. It was really cool. I was throwing pretty hard. Then I had a few months off, so when in the scene where I throw to Ken Griffey Jr., I was only throwing like 75, because my arm was already Jell-O."

3. So, how sore did your arm get?
Prinze Jr.: There were days when I'd throw over 80, 90 pitches. I really messed it up bad. Once, I had to get a cortisone shot. It still bothers me from time to time. This was the hardest movie I ever made.

4. Bean anyone during filming?
Prinze Jr.: One guy, but I had already thrown 63 pitches or something that day, so there wasn't much on it. He turned, but it still got him right in the back ribs. I felt bad about that.

4a. We hear you almost got Ken Griffey Jr., too.
Prinze Jr.: I came close, but he scooted back and gave me the eye, and we moved on.

Freddie Prinze Jr.
Prinze Jr. says he's feel bad about hitting a batter "in the back ribs" during filming.
5. What's it like the first time you throw a pitch by someone you know was trying to hit it?
Prinze Jr.: Hey, I'm an actor playing with minor-league baseball players, pros, and they take a swing at my pitch, and they were really trying to hit it -- and they miss. You literally feel like Zeus, on top of the world, just standing there with your lightning bolt and a half-naked goddess.

But then, there's a flipside. The very next pitch you throw is the best pitch you've ever thrown in your entire life, and you know you'll never get better, and the guy swings at it and hits it out of the park like its nothing, like it was tee-ball, like you don't even deserve to stand on the mound. It literally shatters you.

6. You shot some scenes at a big-league ballpark, Cynergy Field. What was that like?
Prinze Jr.: We used live fans that day, and there were 400 or 500 extras watching, too. You don't want to be terrible in front of all those people. So I walk out onto the field to pitch to Grif, and all these people are cheering.

6a. For you or for Junior?
Prinze Jr.: For me! They're all yelling, "C'mon, Freddie! Get in there, kid! Get in there!" You can't help but allow that energy to affect you. You have to make yourself think, "There's nobody here, this is not to be in a movie, that's not Ken Griffey Jr. down there, there's nobody in the stands, I'm just throwing a ball."

Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen has a curveball and that just might give him the edge over Prinze Jr.
7. What's your favorite baseball movie?
Prinze Jr.: "Major League." I love that movie. That last game that they played, when the actor who plays Pedro Sorano, the big Cuban who hits the home run, comes back out, and he's tipping his hat, and all those real fans are cheering and screaming -- tell me that that did not give him the biggest goosebumps. Ask him one day, find out where he is and ask him! I guarantee you he tells you -- I don't care if they had to do that take 50 times, every time he did it, he had goosebumps, I promise.

8. You vs. Charlie Sheen. Who's the better pitcher?
Prinze Jr.: Charlie looked pretty good in "Major League." But I don't know how hard he can throw, I ended up being able to throw really, really hard. I heard he could throw a curveball in real life, though, and I just can't do that.

9. How does Sarah Michelle Gellar, your fiancée, feel about you working with Jessica Biel?
Prinze Jr.: Sarah Michelle actually knows Jesse, and they get along really well, and everything is cool. My only worry was that Jesse was going to go to college! In acting, especially when you are a woman, you have a certain window of opportunity. I'm sure her parents are going to kill me for saying this, but she can go to college whenever she wants. In 10 years she'll be able to buy a college.

9a. Who's the sexiest actress in Hollywood, besides Sarah Michelle?
Julia Roberts
"Julia Roberts is ... Julia Roberts! And that's just pretty much the way its gonna be for the rest of eternity."
Prinze Jr.: Thats pretty easy ... Julia Roberts. No matter how down they tried to make her look in "America's Sweethearts," you try to think, "Yeah, she's a dog," but you still look at her -- and Catherine Zeta-Jones is beautiful, too -- but Julia Roberts is ... Julia Roberts!

And that's just pretty much the way its gonna be for the rest of eternity.

10. You just finished making your next movie, "Scooby Doo," where you play Fred. Did you wear the goofy scarf?
Prinze Jr.: Yeah, and everyone makes fun of it so much that Fred gets ashamed of it and takes it off, and it really messes with his head, because its such a part of who he is. So it's kinda sad.

10a: So, you've been in "I Know What You Did Last Summer," then "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer," now "Summer Catch." Are you obsessed with the word "Summer"?
Prinze Jr. "Ha! Yeah, its a fascination with summertime and fishing, I guess. I have no idea, it's purely coincidence."

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