Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Myrtle Beach still loves Kenny Powers
By Dave Wilson
Pelicans owner Chuck Greenberg, right, is a fan of Danny McBride and "Eastbound & Down."
HBO announced on Tuesday that it has ordered a fourth season, or eight more episodes, of "Eastbound & Down," the cult hit starring everyone's favorite relief pitcher, Kenny Powers.
The move was a surprise, given that the third season was ultimately meant to be the finale and was treated as such.
Star and executive producer Danny McBride told ESPN.com last year, in fact, that the plan was just for three seasons.
"In our heads, we'd always imagined a three-act structure," McBride said then. "We'd love to do one more season and kind of wrap up Kenny's story."
While fans of the show are no doubt excited about the show's return, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the advanced Class A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, are likely just as excited.
The third season centered heavily around Powers' role as a member of the Myrtle Beach Mermen, a fictional team. But the show was filmed at the Pelicans' stadium, and the team embraced it, even selling "Eastbound & Down" merchandise, including introducing their own Pelicans cap inspired by the series.
The real Myrtle Beach minor league team, the Pelicans, sell this replica Kenny Powers jersey.
"The first week we had the shirts we had to put a new order in right away because they sold that well," said Joel Godett, the Pelicans' Director of Media Relations, who blogged about his own experience as an extra on the show. He said the shirts are a staple at Pelicans games. "You'll spot a handful of them out there every night."
Godett said the series filming at their ballpark was "actually kind of dumb luck."
At the end of Season 2, when Powers gets an offer to pitch for the Texas affiliate in Myrtle Beach, Pelicans owner Chuck Greenberg, a fan of the show, made some calls.
"I was in my hotel room in Dallas watching the next-to-last episode from the second season of “Eastbound & Down” when I heard Matthew McConaughey say he was a scout with "Texas" and that he was offering Kenny a shot with the minor league team in Myrtle Beach," Greenberg told the Sports Business Daily. "I just about fell out of my chair because we had just made the Pelicans a Texas affiliate. Seemed like an unbelievable coincidence. The next day I called my friends at CAA. They were my investment bankers [when Greenberg put together a group to buy the Texas Rangers] and also repped Danny McBride. I basically begged them to help bring the show to Myrtle Beach."
"We reached out and were lucky enough to have them come feature our ballpark," Godett said.
Godett said he and many of the Pelicans players are fans of the show and are anxious to see how it will begin after last season's ending (which we're not giving away if you haven't caught up yet).
"[The players] love it," Godett said. "Some of the players even wear the hats that we sell. They've jumped on those."
And does the team know if the show could return to Myrtle Beach at all?