Big names in entertainment business on hand to root as Dodgers, Cards square off
LOS ANGELES -- If the cameras panned only on celebrities throughout a playoff game at Dodger Stadium, there would barely be enough time to actually focus on the action on the field.
Famous people at Dodger Stadium is not a new phenomenon. Chavez Ravine is the place to be and the place to be seen, and regardless of where they started out or who else they root for, celebrities tend to love the Dodgers, especially when they're good -- which, of course, is the case this year.
The list of well-known guests is long and eye-popping. Beginning with the familiar favorites -- NBA legend and Dodgers part-owner Magic Johnson and legendary former manager Tommy Lasorda -- the cushy seats behind home plate are teeming with folks who have accomplished quite a bit in front of the cameras over the years.
Among those scheduled to attend Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday included "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston, "Arrested Development" star Jason Bateman and "Modern Family" funnyman Eric Stonestreet.
Comedian Chris Tucker and actor Mario Lopez were also expected, along with music industry executive Clive Davis. Up a few levels in a suite on the fifth floor was perhaps the most recognizable of the bunch -- Hollywood bigwig Tom Cruise.
From another suite, Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden gazed out at the Dodger Stadium scenery and marveled at the view. She was there early on Tuesday to tape an episode of "Funny or Die" with broadcasters Charley Steiner and Jack Morris, and she planned to take in that evening's game with her 9-year-old twins.
She ended up touring the field during batting practice and meeting former Yankees manager and current MLB executive Joe Torre about an hour before the pregame ceremonies.
"Life is short, and this is going to be a big memory," Harden said. "This is a bucket list memory. To be here at the stadium, during the playoffs. ... I mean, come on."
On the other side of the field, wearing a Cardinals hat while inconspicuously taking in St. Louis batting practice, was professional golfer Rickie Fowler, who has established a friendship with several players since he moved to Jupiter, Fla., a few years ago.
The Cardinals' Spring Training site is located in Jupiter, which gave Fowler several opportunities to golf with a handful of Cards players.
"A lot of them love to play golf," Fowler said. "I got to their Bible study every once in a while down there at Spring Training. It's definitely different once you get to know some of the players off the field and then get to see some of them play."
This appears to be a good pairing, seeing how much ballplayers like to golf. An argument could be made that a large chunk of today's ballplayers actually may like golf a little more than baseball.
"There's probably a very good chance of that," Fowler said. "I know a lot of the pitchers do spend a lot of time golfing. It's a great way to spend some off time -- not just baseball players, but there's a lot of other athletes that I'm friends with that love to be out at the golf course."
The challenge, Fowler surmised, is a big draw for athletes.
"It's something new," he said. "You can go out, no matter how good or bad you are, everyone's kind of on the same playing field. You have some fun and it's a great way to spend an off-day."
Prior to game time, the Dodgers showed a video tribute to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Kirk Gibson's famous home run that won Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Lasorda, the manager of that team, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The national anthem was performed by "X Factor USA" Season 1 winner Melanie Amaro. The Dodgers also honored their "Veteran of the Game," U.S. Army and California National Guard Staff Sgt. Jesse Becerra of Anaheim.