Batter Up!

Four PASSIONS hunks got their game on in order to help STARTING OVER’s real-life amnesiac, Bethany, trigger memories on the softball field. Here, Charles Divins (Chad), James Hyde (Sam), Eric Martsolf (Ethan) and Rodney Van Johnson (T.C.) give us the behind-the-scenes scoop on their day with the SO ladies. Tune in to STARTING OVER on February 23 to see the guys score.
Charles Divins (Chad)
Digest: How did it come about?
Divins: One of the girls on the show is a big PASSIONS fan and she has amnesia. The idea of the show was to get her to play softball to maybe regain some kind of memory of her past or who she was because she apparently was pretty good [at softball]. Someone thought it would be nice to play softball with the boys from PASSIONS.
Digest: How did the women respond to seeing you guys?
Divins: They were all happy…. They’re really comfortable in front of the camera because there are cameras all around them all the time. They were very happy to see us and be outside. It was a beautiful day. It had rained and then it cleared up just for our game. We had a good time. We just kind of goofed around.

Digest: Were you comfortable in front of the cameras?
Divins: No, I was terrible [laughs]. I was like, “These aren’t studio lights. I don’t have a script. There’s nobody yelling at me. I don’t know what’s going on.” I had to actually move more than two or three inches, it was crazy [laughs]!

Digest: Had you watched STARTING OVER before that day?
Divins: I had seen it a couple of times to check out what it was about. It’s a great idea. It brings a positive light to daytime TV. These are good stories; people searching for a past or a father, so it’s the draw of the show. You connect with real issues.James Hyde (Sam)
Digest: You were the lucky guy to deliver the news to the STARTING OVER women. How did that go?

Hyde: It went great. I had the chance to get them all pumped up and tell them to be at the ballpark at a certain time. I think they really enjoyed that. Then, when we got to the ballpark, I think they had a lot of fun. Those girls are very competitive, which is great, because so am I. We went up to them and heard each individual story about what they’re going through and their journeys. All of us were very supportive, just wished them the best luck in the world and hoped they continued on their journey and found what they are looking for. I think everyone deserves a second chance in life. It was great for us because we learned some stuff as well.

Digest: Did you play as hard as you normally would?
Hyde: It’s so funny because when Eric got up to bat, he wanted to just crush one, so we were egging each other on a little bit, but because it was all in good fun, we had to [tone] it down a little bit.
Digest: Do you think the day helped Bethany at all?
Hyde: I think anything like that would help. Who knows if she’ll ever regain all of her memory, but I think baby steps would help her out. Eric Martsolf (Ethan)
Digest: Tell me about Bethany.
Martsolf: She lost her memory. I can’t exactly recall how many years she lost, but it was a considerable amount of her lifetime. I was informed that softball had been a passion of hers. She hadn’t remembered that it had been so important to her. So to be on that field and watch her spirits get lifted … It was really cool to watch.

Digest: Do you watch STARTING OVER?
Martsolf: I was familiar with the show, and you can’t help but not respect these women who are basically living out all of their traumas and tribulations on TV. We as actors at least get to hide behind a character. It’s Ethan’s issues, it’s not Eric’s issues for all of America out there to see. These women are just putting it out there.
Digest: Who was on your team?
Martsolf: I had Charles Divins. And on the other team, it was James Hyde and Rodney. We each picked some girls and took it from there.
Digest: Were you competitive?
Martsolf: Ha! Well, think about those names that just came down the list. You got Rodney and James and myself. I think Charles was the best sport of them all. I think it was his idea, he was like, ‘You know, maybe we should not hit the ball as hard.’ James and I are looking at each other like, ‘Yeah, okay, right.’ It was pretty competitive, but the girls got into it, too. They were not like, ‘Don’t throw it to me, I don’t want to catch the ball.’ They were like, ‘Get me in there! I want to hit the ball.’ They were real players and really aggressive.
Digest: Sounds like you had fun.
Martsolf: It was fun. It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning. I was so happy to get the call and go. I hope they challenge us to something else. Ping-pong shouldn’t be too far down the road [laughs]. Rodney Van Johnson (T.C.)
Digest: How much fun did you have?
Van Johnson: It’s always good to get with my buds. It’s always good to help out and try to use whatever celebrity that you have to help somebody or to make somebody’s day. That’s the good thing about it.

Digest: Do you watch STARTING OVER?
Van Johnson: I have watched it. It’s a girl’s show. I’ve caught myself watching it. I just really wasn’t too aware of the show. I had seen about 15-20 minutes, but meeting the people and finding out what their background is is pretty amazing. One was a recovering alcoholic, another hadn’t seen her father in a while. I didn’t know that. But once I met these people and saw their situation, I was touched by it. I was happy to be involved. It was interesting.
Digest: Were you aware of all the cameras?
Van Johnson: As an actor, you’re always aware of the cameras. You have to make sure you don’t slip and fall, which I did, and hopefully they won’t cover that. But you always are aware of the cameras.
Digest: How did the ladies react when they saw that you guys were their teammates?
Van Johnson: It was really great to see the expression on their faces when they saw who we were. They watch the show and are loyal fans. We’re going into our sixth season, and it’s pretty exciting when somebody notices you.
Digest: You’re going to watch the episode?
Van Johnson: Absolutely!

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