DENVER — So I get this call from Hollywood, and as you might expect, the producers want me to star in a football movie, "The Game Plan."
They tell me they're going to fly me to Boston, put me in a fancy hotel, food, wine, makeup, wardrobe, the whole bit.
Right away I figure it's some movie starring Salma Hayek, and she knows who she wants to play her love interest, but then they tell me they're just looking for someone to play the role of a sportswriter.
Anyone who has read Page 2 knows that'll be a stretch, but I tell them I think I can make like one of those screamers on "Around the Horn," and they tell me it's not going to be a speaking part.
Instead they intend to have Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer"), Roselyn Sanchez ("Without a Trace") and The Rock (can't remember anything he has done) do all the talking, so I tell them I'm not interested unless they rewrite the script.
I'm taking a risk, maybe ending my movie career, but learning that Charley Steiner already has had a speaking part in a movie, producers can't be that picky about who talks and who doesn't. I don't care for monster flicks, so I must've missed Charley's movie.
"I was in America's Sweethearts," he says.
OK, so you didn't play one of the main two characters....
"Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones were in it," Steiner says, and when I ask him who is prettier, he says, "I'm a Julia guy," which explains why most of us can see the same game, and he sees things very differently.
"They ought to have you interview The Rock like you interview us," Brad Penny suggests.
"It's a Disney movie," I tell him.
"I understand why they haven't given you a speaking part."
But I get a call later, and the movie folks have given me a line to say. Well, to be accurate, a word to say.
Chip Namias, the sports publicist for the movie, says I'll be in a scene with a couple of other "hacks" (sportswriters) and Jim Gray. If you're going to refer to sportswriters as hacks, my gosh, I wonder how he refers to Gray?
Namias says The Rock will play a football coach named Joe, and walking out of a press conference a group of reporters will follow him.
Chicago sportswriter Jay Mariotti was going to be one of those sportswriters, but I'm guessing when he learned he might have to talk to the coach, he pulled out. (At least Ozzie Guillen will enjoy that line.)
I've been told my character's name in the movie will be "sportswriter No. 3," which has a ring to it, and as we're walking out of the news conference -- the camera moving in for my close-up -- I'll deliver my line, maybe pausing for effect before I say, "Joe."
THERE'S A good chance I might improvise. Yelling "stop" seems more in line with what I do on Page 2.
"You're going to have to do what director Andy Fickman says," Namias insists, and keeping in mind Fickman has directed, "She's the Man," "Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical," and "Who's Your Daddy?" I can't imagine someone improving a one-word line is going to ruin the picture.
I stop by the Dodgers clubhouse for advice, though, and check with Vin Scully, a well-known actor.
Without hesitation, Scully waves his hand forward, like he's auditioning for the part, and yells, "Go," instead of "Joe." He's so convincing, I thought for a minute there I was going to have to tell Andre Ethier that Scully wasn't yelling at him to leave the clubhouse.
I KNOW what you're thinking. It's all going to end up on the cutting-room floor, but that's why I have one more demand. I tell the producers they must donate $10,000 to Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA if they cut me out of the picture.
And they agree.
So at this point there is only one thing standing between me and a walk down the red carpet as an actor: the Dodgers.
If the Dodgers continue to win and advance to the National League championship series beginning the week of Oct. 9, I'll have to stay with them -- keeping me from Boston and ending my movie career.
I went to the Dodgers' clubhouse to let the guys know what was on the line, figuring I've been with them all year and maybe they might want to return the favor. They can always win next year, as bad as the National League continues to be.
But talk about incentive. One by one they seemed more interested in ending a movie career than maybe getting free passes.
I could do that for you, I tell Kenny Lofton, and at first he doesn't know what to say. "What?" he says. "Huh," he adds. "Movie passes," he continues.
"So you want us to throw it, so you can be in a movie?" says Jeff Kent, understandably peeved, because he auditioned for a movie a few years back and didn't get the part. They apparently weren't casting the role for a villain.
"Come to your senses," says J.D. Drew.
"Your movie career is over," says one of the Dodgers coaches, and I'd tell you which one, but I was acting as if I didn't hear it because that's what we actors do -- work on our craft when we can.
The guys then took the field, polishing off the Rockies, while the Padres were losing, and would you believe this -- the way things are going, the Dodgers could win the division. That would probably give them home-field advantage in the first round -- making it much easier to advance to the championship series.
And there goes the movie role, leaving me with nothing to say to The Rock other than, "Say it ain't so, Joe."
\o7T.J. Simers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.