Legends, celebs don softball spikes
From Reiner to Mazeroski, annual event a hit at PNC Park
PITTSBURGH -- A jam-packed day of baseball activities began with the Futures Game and ended with the always popular Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, before a nearly full stadium on Sunday at PNC Park.The game, which pits Hall of Famers against celebrities from the entertainment industry, drew some familiar names and faces, ranging from the legendary (Ernie Banks, Ozzie Smith, et al) to the ... well, legendary (Rob Reiner). Movie director, baseball fan: Reiner, currently promoting an animated feature, "Everyone's Hero," during which he plays a talking baseball, brought his sons to the softball game with two intentions: introduce them to baseball legends and not get hurt. Asked which position he would be playing, Reiner responded: "Anything that won't get me injured. I haven't been practicing." Reiner, a lifelong baseball fan, has attended games at ballparks from coast to coast over the years. He takes his sons on baseball-only "road trips," and in that respect, this particular stop at PNC Park was a special thrill. "There's nothing better than fathers and sons in baseball," he said. "This has been great for me." Steel City heroes: There are legends, and then, there are immortals. And in Pittsburgh, there's Bill Mazeroski and there's Franco Harris -- as close to immortal as you'll find in this town. As the legends and celebs mingled prior to the start of the game, Mazeroski sat alone in the dugout, keeping a low profile as he watched the scene unfold. "Hey Maz, what are you going to do, play catch or sit here all day?" Ozzie Smith said to his fellow Hall of Famer. To which Mazeroski replied, "Sit here all day." But only until the emcee began the introductions. Hands down, Mazeroski received the loudest and longest ovation from an appreciative crowd that will never forget the most famous walk-off homer in Bucs history -- one that was hit long before the term "walk-off" became common in baseball lingo. Mazeroski's ninth-inning home run off Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry sealed the Bucs' 1960 World Series championship, and life for the second baseman, an eight-time Gold Glove winner and 10-time All-Star, was never the same. The next loudest ovation was for Harris, a Hall of Famer who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1972-83.
Softball, then acting: "That '70s Show's" Danny Masterson is quoted on the Web site imdb.com as saying, "If I could make millions of dollars being a professional softball player, I would quit acting in a second."Really? "Absolutely," he said prior to taking the field for the celeb team on Sunday. "But I've got to pay the bills. Softball can't do it. Although I got a free glove, and this jersey's probably worth about 30 bucks." Masterson, a native New Yorker and Yankees fan, fancies himself as a pretty good softball player. "I play in three softball leagues in L.A.," he said. "Really good leagues. In New York, we just play in the park." The Wiz: Smith, the beloved former shortstop of the St. Louis Cardinals, has been a regular presence in this annual game. He never tires of it, mainly because he's reunited with several former players who were his contemporaries on the field, like Gary Carter, Dave Winfield and Dave Parker, all of whom played in Sunday's game. Smith visited the site of the Pirates' old ballpark, Forbes Field, earlier in the day. He was taken by the historic feel, but he also was duly impressed with the Bucs' current digs at PNC Park. "I came through the tunnel entering the city [on Saturday], and I didn't know where they situated the field," he said. "It's special. I've seen most of the new parks, and this ranks right up there with them." Position switch: Rollie Fingers became a Hall of Famer because of his pitching, but on Sunday, he took a different route. "I'm going to be playing right field tonight, because I don't want any part of that mound anymore," he said. When asked what his best memory was from his seven All-Star Games, he replied: "Getting out alive, because I was terrible." Memories: Former Red Sox All-Star outfielder Fred Lynn hit the first grand slam in All-Star history. He didn't care to dwell on that stat, especially while he was watching Hall of Famer Winfield warming up as the pitcher for the opposing team. "The last time I faced that guy was in the 1972 College World Series," Lynn said. Indeed. That year, Lynn played for the University of Southern California, while Winfield was a pitcher for the University of Minnesota.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.