Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Celebrity Game Lacked MLB Personality

ESPN had some hits and outs last night in the Celebrity All Star Game. The personalities had personality, but many of the former stars did not...

…Jimmy Kimmel made the celebrity game funnier. He charged out and argued a call, throwing his cap and hitting the umpire. He was immediately tossed, and wised up and said “Not really, right?” When ‘win one for the Gipper’ didn’t work, he erased it and drew a puppy. …Kenny Mayne did make a nice catch. …Editing the game to an hour cuts out the lulls, and perhaps this year the editing was smoother than the past. …the young SF mayor did ok. …Erin Andrews seemed more interested in the guy from Desperate Housewives. As cool as she is, sometimes she asks a question then smiles way too big before the question is answered. …Rob Schneider just looked funny, especially when he chased the pigeon.

…Rickey Henderson and Kevin Mitchell didn’t add much, but it’s harder when you’re in the outfield. This weekend Henderson was blasted again by ESPN for catching a foul ball at a MLB game and not giving it to a kid. …Two nice catches of foul pops by catchers, including the younger Giamatti. …Ernie Banks was apparently the third base coach for one team, but he was hardly mentioned. Wonder if the other team also had a Hall of Famer coach. They did show Schneider getting Banks to autograph a ball. …J.T. Snow seemed an odd choice for the game…he must’ve been wearing his Giants number, as opposed to the 84 he switched to last year when his father died. …Jerry Rice was able to mix in some dancing moves, and he also homered. No Montana or Young?

To me, athletes in general seem to come across with different personalities, making some easier to like than others. That’s where Sports Illustrated does such a great job profiling athletes, so you can get to know them better. Frenchy appears competitive and outgoing, a guy that plays hard but is fun to be around. Same with Pete Orr. McCann appears quieter than Francoeur, but a hard worker. Interesting comments today by him regarding teammate Renteria…another seemingly quiet, hardworking guy. I like it that Edgar has figured out how to make contact and line the ball just over the infield for a single. Andruw did this against Maddux, and perhaps should cut down his swing more often…at least with two strikes. Chipper seems like a guys guy…hunter, fisherman, hitter…and Connect Four champ.

It’s interesting that Gary Carter, Fred Lynn, and Wade Boggs have now played in a few celebrity games. They were great players, but they always seemed to like the spotlight a little too much…and that made me like them less. I always like the hard-working/get a lot out of their ability type, but I was never crazy about these guys. Mike Schmidt was a little like them, just with ability. Smoltz is a Brave kind of like this group, but he has more personality, and can pull it off better. Matt Williams seems different…more quiet…he just likes to play. His interview with Andrews didn’t come off well. Rollie Fingers may be like this, but he’s always smiling and more quiet. Goose Gossage in retirement is more quiet, not as menacing as his demeanor when he played.

On the other hand Dave Winfield’s bubbly personality and big smile has already made him a good guy…a player with great ability who always played all out. Ozzie Smith is smooth and pleasant, a good mix. He made a great catch, but didn’t make a big deal about it. He traded gloves with Schneider only when Rob made the move.

I could be wrong about all these guys. If I were out there I’d probably come across the same way…I know I need to smile more. I don’t have to like a player for him to be a good contributor, but since sports is also entertainment, I can pick my favorites for my own reasons. I always liked Langerhans for his glove, though he doesn’t smile much. You figure he was buddies with JF, BM, etc.

Derby winner VG is so talented, and for once the announcers had it right when they said he’s more clutch, that he came through when the contest was on the line, as opposed to just cranking out home runs. I was also impressed by Colorado’s Holliday…nice touch that he had his brother pitch to him. The Twin MVP had his manager pitch to him, and wasn’t that Rafael Belliard pitching to someone? The Blue Jay was also impressive…that second-place performance probably lifted his presence on the national scene greatly.

Good move by Bonds to be interviewed by Gammons, but I heard the phrase “3rd party opinions” too many times. The HR derby lasted until 11 pm, and Will wanted to watch the celebrity game, which ran from 12 to 1 am EDT. Flipped to Letterman and Conan during commercials…they had some funny bits Will enjoyed. Will didn’t realize that Dusty Baker was on deck for 715. I pulled out a coffee-table type book, of the history of the Braves in Atlanta, but amazingly he was not pictured.

The Bronx Is Burning was better than I expected, particularly the portrayals of Martin, Munson, even Jackson. It appears Reggie has a lot of backpedaling to do. I’ll have to watch the entire miniseries. Mantle, Whitey Ford, Pinella, Yogi, Mickey Rivers.

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