7 best moments from star-filled Dodgers celebrity softball game
It's been a few years since the Dodgers last hosted a Hollywood Stars exhibition softball game, and while the format has changed just a smidge, the spectacle of the event is the same.
It was, by all accounts, 60 glorious minutes of uninterrupted mediocre softball talent on full display at Dodger Stadium. Fun for all involved -- players, fans and actual Major Leaguers who hung out in both dugouts to take in the Hollywood scene.
Several moments highlighted the event. Here are our top picks, based loosely on entertainment value:
1. Garry Marshall leads off game with a double.
A League of His Own: Garry Marshall, 80, taking cuts before celeb softball game at Dodger Stadium. pic.twitter.com/wDNLDRyKPB- Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) June 6, 2015
One of the game's honorary managers was a Hollywood legend: director, writer and producer Garry Marshall, who appeared in one of the most endearing baseball movies in history, "A League of Their Own."
In the movie, Marshall played candy magnate and Cubs owner Walter Harvey, whose vision it was to start an all-women's baseball league.
In Saturday's celebrity softball game, he was the starting pitcher for the "visiting" team. He was also the leadoff hitter. And he started it off in dramatic fashion, lining a double down the third base line.
Marshall -- the man who brought us Mork, Pottsie and Joanie Loves Chachi -- possessor of mad baseball skills? Turns out he plays in a weekly senior softball league. While he used to play first and second base, he sticks to pitching now.
"In the senior league, I have to arc my pitches," he said. "Tonight, the pitches were much straighter."
2. King leads off for his team, strikes out.
After Marshall connected for his double, we thought the other honorary manager -- legendary interviewer Larry King, a regular visitor to Dodger Stadium -- may do the same and represent the octogenarian segment of this game like no other. Unfortunately, King swung and missed on three pitches, but the effort was appreciated by the Dodger faithful nonetheless. (The pitcher who struck him out? Marshall, of course.)
King pushed aside the notion that an honorary manager is just there for the pageantry and not to actually play.
"I don't want to be honorary anything," he said. "I can be dead and be honorary. I want to play. I'm going to play!"
3. Marshall pitches to McKinney, crushes hopes and dreams of young men everywhere.
Not that there was a script for this game, but it's safe to say this wasn't how this particular moment was supposed to go.
Picture this: 80-year-old Marshall is pitching to a 22-year-old bombshell who may someday soon break the Internet. The model/actress, who looks a little like Pam Anderson and a little like Kate Upton, drew an absurd amount of attention as the teams geared up to take the field.
So here we have Charlotte McKinney, not blessed with a lot of athleticism but who cares, and Marshall, who threw her his best sloooooow pitch underhand offering. Somewhat miraculously, McKinney made contact with the bat. And even more mind-bogglingly, Marshall caught it, going about as full-extension as he could go without risking serious injury for the snag.
4. Larry King pinch-hits for himself
With the team's player-manager struggling to make contact at the plate, and with the emcee cringingly referring to his pinch-runner, Jaleel White, as Steve Urkel, King knew he needed to make a switch.
On this team full of stars, who could the normally-suspendered broadcaster call on?
None other than retired slugger Mark McGwire, the Dodgers' hitting coach. The outfielders quickly scurried to the deepest points of the yard, just in front of the fence, preparing for a big swing from Big Mac.
McGwire, perhaps feeling a little anxious after so many years away from the batter's box, swung at the first pitch and flew out to deep center field -- and by "deep," we mean, not that deep and several feet in front of the makeshift outfield wall that sat not far from the infield dirt.
5. Lisa Leslie argues balls and strikes
The 6-foot-5 Leslie, a physical marvel who isn't far removed from a basketball career that included three WNBA MVP titles, four Olympic gold medals and a recent election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, was quite the imposing figure when she stepped to the plate for her first at-bat in the opening frame.
Unsatisfied with the way the balls and strikes were being called by the home plate umpire, Leslie argued in veteran baseball player fashion, stomping her feet and even kicking a bit of dirt on the plate.
All in good fun, folks. All in good fun.
6. Tyler Hoechlin hits first homer of the game.
Though perhaps a little short on historical significance, there can only be one person who holds the distinction of hitting the first homer of a celebrity softball game. And that honor went to the guy who got his big break starring as Tom Hanks' son in the movie "Road to Perdition," Tyler Hoechlin.
But that was only the beginning for the Teen Wolf phenom. He wound up winning the very prestigious Hollywood Stars MVP Award, which netted him ceremonial first pitch honors before the Dodgers-Cardinals game later that evening.
7. Landon Donovan goes yard...sort of.
Soccer stud Landon Donovan, widely considered one of the best players who come out of the United States, can swing a bat, too. Who knew?
With two runners on, Donovan hit a quarter-moon shot somewhere in right field, not deep enough to clear the fence but far enough away where no fielders seemed terribly interested in retrieving the ball.
We'll call this a homer, Little League style, with extra points for his jubilant hop rounding third.