As we near the big night when our own Chris Hardwick throws out the first pitch for Star Wars Night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles before the Dodgers-Reds game Monday night, July 2nd — and if you haven’t gotten your tickets, buy them right this second — it got us wondering if any of the players are into Star Wars like we at Nerdist are into it. Turns out that, yes, there’s one guy who’s a fan of science fiction, a huge Star Trek guy as well as a Star Wars partisan, Dodger reliever Todd Coffey.
Todd, who joined the team this season after stints with the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, and Washington Nationals, is known for sprinting from the bullpen at breakneck speed when coming into a game and for his nerd tendencies, not necessarily common in pro sports. We asked him a few questions about those things while preparing for Star Wars Night, and he was gracious enough to answer:
Nerdist: You’re a science fiction fan, especially of Star Trek but also Star Wars. What appeals to you about the genre?
Coffey: For me, about the genre, it’s just the fantasy of going to space, seeing the world, the travel. Star Wars and Star Trek are two different entities altogether. Star Trek is about traveling in a different time, different era, and Star Wars is, you know, a little more fantasy than reality.
Nerdist: Your interest in sci-fi is sometimes portrayed as unusual for a baseball player. Is it? Have any of your teammates, either now with the Dodgers or in Milwaukee, Cincinnati, or Washington, shared your interests?
Coffey: Randy Wolf of the Brewers shared my interest in Star Wars. That’s about it. Everybody else calls me a nerd for actually loving Star Trek. I welcome it openly.
Nerdist: Which science-fiction characters would make your All-Star team? Who’d be in your dream crew, and what would they bring to the table?
Coffey: Jean-Luc Picard would definitely be on there, and Captain Kirk, always. Luke, Darth Vader… Data and Worf. Those guys would all be contributing in their own ways, but, mainly… awesome crew.
Nerdist: How much of a tech nerd are you? What gear, if any, do you take with you on the road to get on the Net or watch movies or play games? And do you pay a lot of attention to what people are tweeting at or about you?
Coffey: I take all the normal gadgets on the phone on the road: iPad, iPhone, anything I can get at Brookstone. Any new gadget out there, I love to have it. I take my computer on the road, too, and I’m always looking to see what the next best thing is for gadgets. I do pay attention to Twitter to see what people are talking about.
Nerdist: Finally, what’s the deal with running from the bullpen to the mound at your top speed when you get called into the game? It’s your signature move — the Brewers used to time it on the scoreboard, and it’s definitely a unique sight — but how and why did that get started?
Coffey: It got started because in Double A, I was closing, and we scored eight runs in the bottom of the eighth, I was pumped up, and I sprinted out there. I liked the way it felt, the fans got into it, I got into even more, and… I enjoy it.
And he, and you, will enjoy the Star Wars-themed festivities on Monday night. (How’s that for a segue?) Chris will, as mentioned above, throw out the first pitch, there will be Star Wars characters around the park, and the right field all-you-can-eat pavilion will have a special section for you, with a special ticket package that includes not just all that food — unlimited Dodger Dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, and soft drinks — but a limited-edition Star Wars/Dodgers t-shirt and visits from characters, all for $39.95 per ticket including fees. Buy your tickets now by clicking here. And if you’re elsewhere in the stadium, you’ll find Course of the Force booths with your chance to sign up to win a signed limited edition Star Wars poster. It’s going to be a great night, so join us, and if Todd comes in to pitch, make sure you cheer extra loud. And fast, because he doesn’t give you a lot of time before he starts to work.