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BAD BASEBALL, GOOD CAUSE Print E-mail
by Mike Fisher    Fri, Jun 27, 2008, 05:35 PM
  “Just to make sure I didn’t get the temptation to play,’’ baseball legend Fred Lynn told me from Friday’s Reebok Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game workout, “I didn’t bring a glove. You know, you sometimes get that itch. … Then I got here, and there was a glove in my locker. But it was a righthander’s glove.’’

 

     Lynn, the legendary Boston Red Sox who in 1975 was both the Rookie of the Year and American League MVP, was, of course, a lefty.

   “My,’’ he fake-moped, “how the mighty have fallen.’’

   Lynn won’t be playing in Saturday’s seventh annual charity event (hosted by Mike Modano and benefiting his foundation and The Heroes Foundation); he will be managing the Black Socks opposite Red Socks manager Wade Boggs. Nevertheless, he remains among the “mighty’’ in this motley crew of good-natured has-beens and never-weres who each donate either their celebrity or $6,000 for the honor of participating in the event.

   Some vignettes from Friday at Frisco’s charmingly gorgeous Dr Pepper Ballpark:

   ITEM: Michael Irvin is planning on playing in the game, though without much preparation. “I think he thinks that because he’s a good athlete, it’ll be a snap,’’ says one mutual friend.

   I’ll say this about Irvin: For the 18 years I’ve known him, he’s always said he hates baseball. And if an otherwise-world-class athlete hates a certain sport, that usually means he cannot play it.

   ITEM: Among those at the Friday workout who look like they can play a little bit: Hockey star Modano (who was his junior-high football quarterback), “Shark’’ TV actor Sam Page (Modano told me Page played in college) and Channel 8 sports anchor Joe Trahan (who says he lost 30 pounds after seeing video tape of himself playing last year).

   ITEM: Among those who don’t look like they can play? Pretty much everybody else.

   ITEM: OK, that’s a little harsh. It was actually kind of neat to watch FC Dallas soccer star Dario Sala touch a baseball bat for the first time in his life. He was absolutely clueless at the start of batting practice, but with 24 hours of practice before Saturday. … who knows?

   ITEM: Mavs faces Cuban, Donnie Nelson and Jason Terry are scheduled to be part of Saturday’s festivities. Cuban will try to play on the strength of that one brand new hip. Donnie will try to play on the strength of that one brand new second-round draft pick.

   ITEM: On the Black roster: Irvin, Sala, hockey star Brenden Morrow and Cowboys stud DeMarcus Ware. Not bad. On the Red roster: Modano, Terry, Page, Cuban, hockey player Mark Ribeiro, radio-talker Kevin Kiley (who played pro football) and a ringer: Former major-leaguer Ben Grieve.

   If Bodog.com ever posts odds on this thing, take the Grieve-led Red Socks in a friggin’ blowout!

   ITEM: I asked Fred Lynn for his “state-of-baseball’’ address: “If you look at attendance, baseball is more popular than it has ever been. MLB markets the game like it simply did not know how to do when I played. There used to be one game a week on TV! The money is there – I don’t begrudge today’s players that at all. And there is the steroids thing, though I believe the fans have moved on from that. Most of all, I think it’s more healthy than it has ever been.’’

   ITEM: Most Versatile Player? So far it’s Danny Bollinger, who handles Mavs team photography and was somehow practicing baseball while also snapping pictures of the celebs.

   ITEM: Saturday’s schedule: Gates open at 3 p.m. for the 6 p.m. start of the featured game. At 4 p.m., fans will watch the Baylor Medical Center at Frisco Celebrity Home Run Derby. Some actual baseball talent will be involved in that event: Jack Clark, Kevin Bass, Orestes Destrade, Brian McRae and Boggs – all ex-major-leaguers – will participate.

   ITEM: For tickets ($5 to $15) call Ticketmaster at (214) 373-8000 or go to ticketmaster.com or purchase them at the Dr Pepper Ballpark during business hours. For more information go to heroesbaseball.org.

 

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