First of all, I'd like to thank the little people in Buena Park who attended a sneak preview of my new movie, "The Game Plan," for respecting my privacy -- not a single person stopping me later for an autograph or a picture.
I can only imagine how hard it was to restrain themselves, although I suspect it had something to do with the wife, laughing, sobbing and rolling around the theater floor like some kind of crazed nut.
You see, I was not only paid to act as the star in this movie, which includes cameo performances by The Rock and Roselyn Sanchez, but also to sing "[Hunk of] Burning Love." Just as Elvis might.
There's even a little hip sway thrown in there, the wife heard to exclaim, "Stop, you're killing me," before rolling around in the popcorn butter again.
NO MATTER what you read out there in the tabloids, the reason I did not attend Sunday's red carpet premiere for "The Game Plan" was because of creative differences with director Fick Man.
The way Fick Man shot this movie, it was clear he never wanted me in it, playing up some former pro wrestler instead, and putting him in almost every scene -- as if he has anything more than a big smile going for him.
Fick Man only agreed to use me because the movie's producers were on the hook to donate $10,000 to Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA if I was cut from the Disney thriller.
Now I'm not sure if I have this exactly right, but Fick Man's only previous movie credit before "The Game Plan" was something called "Bambi Never Really Did Die." That is -- until Bambi's movie hit the theaters.
So right from the outset we were at odds about how this "Shawn Kemp-I-had-no-idea-I-had-another-kid-out-there" Disney feel-good yawn should be made, the big issue being how the star of the movie was going to be framed.
"I thought the dog was the star of the movie," said Lya Vallat, a producer for FSN, and I know Kyra Sedgwick doesn't always look her best, but I can't imagine referring to anyone -- not in a Dodgers uniform -- as a dog.
NOW YOU will notice when you see the movie that I did not use any makeup or wardrobe assistance, all in an effort to bring a little gritty reality to Kemp's life story.
In fact to look more like a haggard sportswriter, I had Dwyre in mind when I added a bunch of padding beneath my jacket while trying to look as old, crusty and beaten down as I could. It was a stretch, but it's just what we actors do.
When it comes time for my line, you won't see me, Fick Man doing this artsy-craftsy thing where you initially hear me off camera. "Very Fellini," is how Fick Man put it, as if I'm supposed to understand what the Italian purse he carries with him has to do with any of this.
The thing is, the movie pretty much spins on my line. I know this, because I didn't pay much attention to the first 100 or so minutes of the taut bubble bath/ballet drama, but caught myself almost coming out of my chair when I heard myself growl, "Hey, old man, you still think you got what it takes to win the big one?"
I wouldn't be surprised to hear later that Jeff Kent went running from the theater at that point.
If you don't blink, then you'll see Dwyre's tummy, a quick glimpse of my face along with some method acting before the camera settles on The Rock talking to a TV reporter. The TV reporter is Jim Gray, but his face is not shown to the audience.
"It was very important to protect the little children who will be watching this film," Fick Man said.
THE KEMP story continues, something about an athlete learning how to act like a decent human being -- just the kind of fantasy movie you'd expect from Disney -- in the end, The Rock getting the girl.
Then the credits begin to roll, I'm called on to sing, and the wife doubles over. I'm beginning to understand why so many marriages in Hollywood just don't last.
THE KIDS might not respect the vets and the vets might not like the kids, but deep down they all probably agree: It's not going to be a good night when Mark Hendrickson, the big stiff, gets the call to pitch. The Rockies would disagree, of course.
FANS ATTENDING Saturday's Dodgers game will receive a team photo, and you can just imagine how hard it was to get everyone together for that.
DODGERS PR announced Brad Penny had topped the 200-inning mark for the first time since 2001.
Don Drysdale threw more than 200 innings 12 straight years, including four straight years when he topped 300 innings.
But way to go, Brad.
THE ROCKIES ran wild on the Dodgers' Little League arm in center twice -- but just think, only four more years for the opposition to take advantage of Juan Pierre in a Dodgers uniform. And people say things aren't looking up for the Dodgers.
LUIS GONZALEZ is donating a never-used, Gibson custom-made Dodgers-monogrammed electric guitar to Mattel's, and asks anyone who is interested in making a contribution to notify Page 2.
Anyone donating to the kids' cancer ward via Page 2 will have their name put in a Dodgers cap with Gonzalez pulling out a guitar winner before the season finale.
"People don't want me around here anymore, so we'll give the guitar away as is -- with no autograph," Gonzalez joked, "or we'll get it autographed by the Dodger of the winner's choice."
Someone suggested getting it signed by all the young players and Jeff Kent. Talk about a collector's item.
GONZALEZ SHOUTED to the Dodgers media corps before the game, "I'm going to have the Oklahoma State football coach speak to all you this week."
Then he presented Page 2 with a gift, his copy of Tom Lasorda's CD, "I Believe."
"Don't need this anymore," Gonzalez said.
TODAY'S LAST word comes in e-mail from Al Thompson:
"I disagree with almost everything you write, but I keep reading, what's wrong with me?"
You disagree with almost everything I write.
T.J. Simers can be reached at email@example.com. For previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.