Denton 'Desperate' for good baseball
Actor enjoying fame's perks to catch up on America's pastime
ANAHEIM -- A little over a year ago, James Denton was just another working actor in Los Angeles who had some good roles in film and television for the past 11 years. But in September 2004, the 42-year-old from Nashville, Tenn., was thrust into the hot Hollywood spotlight when "Desperate Housewives" premiered on ABC.
The notoriety bestowed upon him by the hit show -- he plays mysterious plumber Mike Delfino -- has helped Denton indulge in his favorite sport, baseball. Since the series premiered, Denton has attended the All-Star festivities in Detroit, thrown out the first pitch at seven different games, played his guitar onstage with Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo and, thanks to Oprah Winfrey, suited up and worked out with Arroyo's teammates in Boston.
"it's been pretty amazing," said Denton. "Happily, I mentioned on 'Oprah' that I was a big baseball fan, and about a dozen clubs called us and offered to throw out the first pitch or take BP. It's been an unbelievable year. I've made friends with a couple of really great guys who are big-league ballplayers; it's like a dream come true for a kid who's a baseball fan."
One thing that surprised Denton was the fact that a lot of Major League players are big fans of his show.
"Jeff Kent and Sean Casey are a good example of players who watch the show all the time," said Denton. "It really surprised me that they really enjoyed it, so when I went out to throw the first pitch, both of those guys volunteered to catch it. Curt Schilling did the same at Fenway because his wife, Shonda, watches the show and you know, normally the guy who catches the first pitch is the guy who draws the short straw, so it's been a pleasant surprise that they all like the show so much."
Denton, who lives in Glendale, Calif., is a Dodgers season ticket holder, but he's had no problem driving to Anaheim in order to catch the Angels' 2005 playoff games against the Yankees and White Sox. When asked who he was rooting for in the ALCS, the actor said he was torn.
"I oddly enough was a 20-year White Sox fan," said Denton. "I lived in Chicago for a long time, loved the White Sox, loved Ozzie Guillen, but I also have an Angel connection because I know the front office here. All these players are good guys, I love Mike Scioscia, so I'm just a baseball fan this weekend and it's been a lot of fun. As you can see, I have no gear on. I have my All-Star weekend cap from Detroit and it's just fun to be a baseball fan."
As for who he'd like to see in the World Series, Denton does have a preference.
"I have nothing against the Cardinals, but I have a bunch of good buddies on that Houston team," said Denton. "Phil Garner's a friend and they're just a bunch of good guys. Garner said to me, 'I don't know if I can win this thing with a bunch of milk drinkers' -- he said he had a bunch of guys you'd want your daughter to marry, so I'm unabashedly for the Astros in the National League. Over here, it's much tougher for me. Both teams are great, so I'm in a no-lose situation in the ALCS."
Ben Platt is a national correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.