“I don’t get sentimental about jobs, and even one I love as much as this,” Hank Azaria tells us when reflecting on his lead role in Brockmire coming to a close this season. “I’m not that way. I do get sentimental about things in my life ending, but not jobs. I don’t know why, [maybe] because they’re so hard to do that they feel more like a relief when they’re done.”
A “relief” is probably the biggest understatement a modest Azaria will say of a character who is beyond polarizing. A character he brought to life from an online Funny or Die short and turned into one of the best TV comedies. Playing the uber-fast-talking, narcissistic king of one-liners Jim Brockmire is not easy. If you’ve seen an episode, you know the rapid-fire dialogue that spews from Brockmire’s mouth is nonstop; he just never shuts up. One page of the script translates to only about a minute on TV — and that’s a lot of lines to memorize.
“I spend about three months learning it all,” Azaria admits. “Partially because we don’t have much time to shoot, but also because I learn it like a play. I feel like it needs to be right there. There are certain phrases that’ll take me a week to learn. Like wait a minute, what the hell does he say?”
Exactly. We ask the same thing, between gasps, about what just spewed out of Brockmire’s mouth this time (reference the sidebar below). When we were first introduced to the show’s premise back in 2017, Azaria talked about the liberties baseball announcers have in their play calling and gave a memorable example of what was to come.
“These guys can say whatever they like as long as they give the count right afterwards,” Azaria explained. Then, dropping into character … “‘Folks, I’m a little tired. I spent last night at a toilet while a Thai lady‑boy snorted crank off my johnson. Misses a breaking ball down low and away.’”
But between all the chatter is a show Azaria described as a love letter to baseball “in its own weird, alcoholic‑soaked, soporific, dark, gritty, sad way.” And, along the way, it became more than that, as it was a journey of this famed major league baseball announcer who suffered a career‑ending public meltdown live on the air, and so many other cringeworthy moments, as the series followed him through alcohol-infused blunders, awkward social missteps and failed relationships. Never, however, did you stop rooting for him and some kind of silver lining.
In the eight-episode Season 4, we flash forward to 2030, where we get to see where baseball, society and Brockmire’s life are at. The first shocker is Brockmire’s got a new job as the commissioner of baseball. Second shocker is that his obsessive personality has now turned to his daughter (yes, he has a daughter, and oh boy is that a story!). Brockmire’s officially a doting, over-the-top helicopter dad now and — remarkably — still sober. We also meet Limón, a smart home device like Alexa, who becomes a significant friend. Jules James (Amanda Peet) is back and makes quite an epic return to the game with an infamous stunt. (Fun fact: Peet’s character was based on a documentary Brockmire writer Joel Church-Cooper watched, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, that profiled Bing Russell, an actor and minor league baseball owner.)
“She’s still trying to not leave Morristown, and still a drunk,” Peet teases of the final season. “She thinks that Brockmire is really boring sober. … I always hoped that I would come back and that Jules and Jim would resume their love affair and we would end on this note.”
Azaria, too, was pleased with the ending and comforted with the fact that he’s not really saying goodbye forever to Brockmire, knowing he can always explore the character in other outlets, like sports talk, later in life. “It’s not easy to figure out a beginning, middle and end for characters like this. So I thought it was really nicely poetic and sentimental, where he ended up.”
So fans, put the supper on the stove, because this ballgame is officially going to be over.
Wednesdays beginning March 18