For that matter, when would Super Bowl champion and ex-Chargers quarterback Drew Brees take the same field as Academy Award winners Jamie Foxx and J.K. Simmons?
Those were among the treats of Sunday’s 6-inning All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game at Petco Park. The 90-minute contest will air on ESPN after Monday’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby — appetizers for Tuesday’s 87th annual All-Star Game.
Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback expected to play the Chargers this fall in his first visit to Qualcomm Stadium since leaving the Bolts in 2005, got the most cheers while playing in what he called “one of best ballparks in baseball.”
He also hit a home run to right off Major League Soccer star Landon Donovan. But dingers were easy with a shortened fence.
Brees said baseball was his first love, and played it growing up. “I still love baseball,” he said, noting Ted Williams was the reason he wears No. 9.
At 10, his first autograph was from Hall of Fame shortstop (and fellow player Sunday) Ozzie Smith at old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. But he said he made a mistake in having the Cardinals (and Padres) star sign the inside of his glove.
“Not a veteran move,” he said, because ground balls eventually erased the autograph.
Brees said he’s excited to return again in October — to face his former team at Qualcomm.
“I’m sure it will be a big game,” said the five-year Chargers player who hasn’t taken a snap here for 11 years. “Love the city. I hope they stay. It wouldn’t be the same with them going up to L.A.”
Amid batting practice, “Whiplash” and Farmers Insurance commercial star Simmons, 61, said his strategy was to “A) Not embarrass myself and B) Not pull something.”
He lauded his glove, a fresh 2016 model, but said: “I have a Wilson glove at home that’s broken in that I would love to be using in the game.” The one he played with was “like catching a softball with a brick.”
A Detroiter growing up, he said his favorite Tigers players were Al Kaline, Alan Trammell, Willie Horton, Lou Whitaker and Kirk Gibson.
“What could have been my prime athletic years, I wasn’t playing ball,” he said. “Now it’s a once-a-year summer softball game with my old summer theater. … My legs left when I was playing in the Broadway Show League in the ’90s.”
Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, still sporting a handlebar mustache, recalled playing at the 1978 All-Star Game at Jack Murphy Stadium. But he hailed the current, more extravagant event.
Terry Crews coming in to pitch at Legends and Celebrity softball game, making him the most intimidating softball pitcher that ever lived.
Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, known as the “Man of Steal,” wasn’t allowed to advance that way Sunday, under softball rules, but held court earlier on his style of play.
“When I got to two strikes, I had no fear. Nowadays when you get two strikes, oh they’re panicking — ‘Oh, I got to do something different,'”
He said Willie Horton was his childhood idol — even though he refused young Rickey’s autograph requests.
When Henderson finally made it to the majors, he told Horton: “Hey, [when] I was a kid you never gave an autograph. Can you give me some techniques?”
Horton replied: “Congratulations on making it to the big league. But I want to tell you one thing … when [you] come up to the plate, move way back” to be less a threat, triggering laughter from onlookers.
Henderson, 57, called being part of All-Star Sunday an honor.
“It’s a joy just to be here,” he said.
Chris Stone contributed to this report.
Talkin’ Baseball: Jamie Foxx, J.K. Simmons at All-Star Celebrity Game was last modified: July 11th, 2016 by Ken Stone
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