Cardinals fan Jon Hamm: ‘I hated the Mets with a passion … still do’
With his upcoming Disney baseball film “Million Dollar Arm” hitting theaters on Friday, “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm recently sat down with some baseball scribes to talk about the national pastime and how his love of the game goes all the way back to his days as a youth cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals … and how that undying love and fierce loyalty for the Redbirds from back then up until the present day has caused the actor to have a deep-seated hatred for everything and anything to do with the New York Mets.
The Mets coincidentally play a significant part in a recent episode of “Mad Men,” in which … okay, no spoiler alerts needed … no need to go there. But for an excellent write-up, see here (spoilers involved in the linked article, however).
At 43 years of age and being born and raised in St. Louis, Hamm was the perfect age to enjoy the heyday of the Cardinals excellence during the 1980s when the team reached the World Series three times, in 1982, 1985 and 1987, with the Cards winning the ’82 Fall Classic by beating the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games.
Given the Cardinals were often competing against the Mets in National League Eastern Division pennant races during those years — remember those heady days when there were only four divisions? — Hamm developed quite a vitriolic attitude towards the team once dubbed “The Loveable Losers, albeit before Hamm’s time.
“I hated the Mets with a passion. Still do,” Hamm said, via the New York Post, putting his feelings about the Mets about as clear as possible.
Hamm says he remembers those heady days in the ’80s but also remembers the not-so-great times of the early ’70s.
“The ’70s, they were kind of a disaster,” Hamm said. “They had a lot of colorful characters on the team. Al Hrabosky, Ted Simmons, Keith Hernandez, a lot of guys like that. Dane Iorg. Kenny Reitz. But my dad would take me to games. And it was fun. Busch Stadium was one of those concrete donuts, with 60,000 seats. Into the ’90s, bleacher seats at Busch were $5.
“And then at a certain point in the ’80s, when Whitey Herzog came, the whole culture shifted. And he kind of cleaned house, brought in his own guys. Everybody was kind of taken aback for a second until they started winning. It was a brand new kind of baseball. It was that ’80s speed game that nobody played.”
Hamm played high school baseball as a teen and still takes part in a wood-bat league in L.A. and frequently appears in celebrity softball games, something he will do again at the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis in a few months.
And as far as his upcoming baseball movie is concerned, where he portrays a struggling agent attempting to find ballplayers in India, Hamm downplays Hollywood’s recent infatuation with baseball movies. The role that turned him into a certified megastar, Don Draper, and the show in which his character navigates the world of 1960s advertising in the show, shouldn’t have worked. Why should something that should work continue to do so?
“It doesn’t work until it works. There used to be a corollary: Baseball isn’t international. People don’t give a [bleep],” he said.
True enough. A philosophy Don Draper certainly could ascribe to.