- Sam Alipour
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On Sunday, March 17, Fox’s “The Cleveland Show” will pitch a sports doubleheader.
At 7:30 pm, catch “The Hangover Part Tubbs,” which will see Cleveland and his crew stranded at Richmond International Speedway after a night of drinking.
In desperate need of transportation home so that Donna can participate in a debate for a spot on the school board, the gang stops the race and fields offers for rides from a trio of obliging NASCAR drivers -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne -- because, we presume, education is as important to these dudes as publicity is important to their sponsors.
“While Dale Earnhardt Jr. recorded,” Mike Henry, the series’ co-creator and executive producer, says, “he had six guys simultaneously changing his shoes, giving him a double manicure, cutting his hair and whispering his lines in his ear.”
Then, in an episode titled “California Dreamin,’” airing at 8:30 p.m., Cleveland will realize his dream of becoming an MLB scout.
He’ll join the Dodgers, yuk it up with L.A.’s Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier and attempt to sign -- with the promise of a billion dollars -- three other players: Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Fox had originally slated “California Dreamin’” for November 4 of last year, but the episode was preempted by the network’s MLB programming -- because, as we all know, baseball is long, slow and boring but not unfunny.
“The only problem recording the baseball players was they kept adjusting their crotches and spitting in the booth,” kids Henry, who’s also the voice of Cleveland.
And despite his status as a Reds fan, Henry begrudgingly admits that Big Papi owned the mic like no other athlete.
“David Ortiz was a natural performer,” he confirms, “although I'm still not quite sure what he said.”
Check out the exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the MLB-themed episode, courtesy of Fox, above.