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Eastbound & Down

2009
Posted By SPMA

Many years after he turned his back on his hometown, a burned-out major league ballplayer returns to teach Physical Education at his old middle school.

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About Eastbound & Down

Baseball is an often-used theme in film and television. Yet, few get baseball right or make it feel real. Eastbound & Down is one of the few television series to give baseball the feel that others lack. Co-created and written by comedian Danny McBride, Eastbound & Down tells the story of failed baseball player Kenny Powers returning to his hometown.

Powers’ career was once on a mercurial rise only to be cut short. Following his retirement, Powers seeks employment from his former middle school and it is there that he teaches physical education. The realness of Eastbound & Down comes from the main character’s lack of skills and ambition outside of playing Major League Baseball. He lacks any idea that his career is over and it was his doing. It is a trait that many ex-professional athletes whose careers were cut short possess. Therefore, Eastbound & Down has a spot on the shelf thanks to its adaptability ex-athletes can have with it.

Eastbound & Down's Relation To Sport Business

McBride’s character of Kenny Powers resembles traits of real-life Major League Baseball pitcher John Rocker. The volatile ex-Atlanta Braves pitcher was outspoken on and off the field. His attitude and aloofness are similar to Powers’ characteristics as well. McBride not only took inspiration from ex-baseball players but the southern United States. The Georgia native and his co-writers poked fun at the south giving viewers a hilarious look at life in small-town America. One of the true to life aspects of Eastbound & Down is it doesn’t sugar-coat life after being a professional athlete.

So many sports films and television shows depict athletes that hit rock bottom only to rebound and find success. Powers does not find success after his implosion in baseball which is exactly why it works and belongs on the shelf. Powers spiral out of control doesn’t end after leaving baseball but continues. The continuation of his decline is far truer to life and what an athlete may experience.McBride’s character of Kenny Powers resembles traits of real-life Major League Baseball pitcher John Rocker.

The volatile ex-Atlanta Braves pitcher was outspoken on and off the field. His attitude and aloofness are similar to Powers’ characteristics as well. McBride not only took inspiration from ex-baseball players but the southern United States. The Georgia native and his co-writers poked fun at the south giving viewers a hilarious look at life in small-town America. One of the true to life aspects of Eastbound & Down is it doesn’t sugar-coat life after being a professional athlete. So many sports films and television shows depict athletes that hit rock bottom only to rebound and find success.

Powers does not find success after his implosion in baseball which is exactly why it works and belongs on the shelf. Powers spiral out of control doesn’t end after leaving baseball but continues. The continuation of his decline is far truer to life and what an athlete may experience.

While McBride’s portrayal of Powers is brilliant and dominates the show, it is Will Ferrell’s recurring character of Ashley Schaeffer that steals the show in seasons one and three.

Schaeffer is a shady car dealer and resembles professional wrestler Ric Flair during the 1980s. His mannerisms and look mirror the wrestling great from the “wooo” down to the bleach blonde hair. Schaeffer is the antagonist to Powers. The characters are very similar in every way and it leads to some very funny scenes between them.

Eastbound & Down uses baseball as the backdrop. Although there are plenty of baseball scenes and references to the sport, most of the show is based on Powers’ life after retirement. Season two does see Powers return to organized baseball playing in Mexico, but again, the sport is only part of the storyline. Along with trying to find a career post-Major League Baseball, Powers has various love interests that he comes in contact with.

Eastbound & DownSport Industry Areas Touched

Eastbound & Down Industry Endorsements

Eastbound & Down has been suggested to us by sport industry professionals we talk to on a regular basis. See a list of those individuals below.

 Industry Professional  Organization  Position

Why watch Eastbound & Down?

If you like dark comedies, then Eastbound & Down is certainly one to add to the list of great shows. It certainly Isn't a show for everyone despite its backdrop of baseball. Although Eastbound & Down aired for four seasons on HBO with 29 episodes, it always felt like it was a cult classic and on the verge of being canceled. Perhaps it was the characters, such as Powers, that turned viewers off from watching it consistently, but 29 episodes of Eastbound & Down certainly do not feel like enough.

On the face of it, Eastbound & Down would seem likely to become tiresome due to the initial storyline. Yet, each season sees Powers re-invent himself and the show takes another turn. McBride’s jerk humor and behavior take time to get used to. Once viewers do accept it and his portrayal of Powers, each episode turns into a treasure trove of hilarious quotes. Eastbound & Down simply must be watched to truly understand its amazingness.

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