The legends & celebrities: Fun and a game ... but mostly fun
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It might be the least competitive All-Star event at PNC Park, and it's one that won't be completely saturated in testosterone.
"Obviously, our game is nothing like [the main event]," said Leeann Tweeden of FSN's "Best Damn Sports Show Period," one of the players -- and one of just two females --- lined up for tonight's legends and celebrity softball game.
"It's pretty fun," said Tweeden, who will be making her third appearance. "I'm pretty athletic, so I've gotten some hits. If you can at least hit the ball, they'll probably let you get to first base."
Tweeden is one of 14 celebrities and 14 former star baseball players or Hall of Famers scheduled to play in the game, the final event of today's lineup.
The softball game is expected to start around 7 p.m. It will go five innings and have a couple of softened rules. Players will use aluminum bats, and shortened fences will be used.
"One thing you learn is that it's not about swinging for the fences; it's about hitting to get on base," said Franco Harris, a running back on the 1970s Steelers Super Bowl teams who has played in celebrity softball games before, but not this one.
"Every once in a while, though, you just can't help going for the fences," said Harris, who admires PNC Park and would reach a crowning moment if he could plant a ball in the Allegheny River.
"If you find yourself with two outs, full count, bases loaded, you have to buckle down and get those competitive juices flowing."
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, the host of "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" isn't as bashful about wanting to steal the show.
"I'm hoping to hit one onto the [Clemente] Bridge. If I only get it to the [Allegheny] River, so be it," said Kimmel, who plays regularly in Dodgers celebrity games and has played in this game a couple of times, hitting a homer two years ago in Houston.
In addition to being "as good a player as an out-of-shape 38-year-old can be," Kimmel said, he's prepared in other ways. "I'm totally injected with steroids, every vein. Call me [Jose] Canseco."
This year's celebrity field is stocked heavily with people from the entertainment industry, Harris and a couple of X-Games athletes being the only crossovers from other sports.
Among those from baseball scheduled to play, the former Pirates are Dave Parker, Bill Madlock and Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski.
"They're usually having fun like the rest of us," Tweeden said, "and it's fun to play with guys you grew up watching."
Or, as Kimmel put it, "The best thing about the whole day is showering with the former players."
This is the 11th celebrity and legends softball event, although some of them have been hitting challenges rather than games.
Participants in today's Taco Bell celebrity softball game:
Ernie Banks, Carlos Bernard, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, James Denton, Rollie Fingers, Marcus Giamatti, Goose Gossage, Franco Harris, Cary Hart, Tommy John, Jimmy Kimmel, John Kruk, Fred Lynn, Danny Masterson, Bill Madlock, Bill Mazeroski, Dave Mira, Trevor Morgan, Dave Parker, Tony Potts, Rob Reiner, Harold Reynolds, Sarah Silverman, Ozzie Smith, Cowboy Troy, Leeann Tweeden, Dave Winfield
First Published July 9, 2006 12:00 am