NEW YORK - Alyssa Milano just may be the baseball equivalent of Kentucky basketball superfan Ashley Judd.
Milano is best known for her roles on the television series "Who's the Boss?" and "Charmed." She also has season tickets to her beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, recently finished a tour for her new book "Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic" and has a baseball-themed apparel line called "touch."
The actress was at Citi Field on Saturday to help launch the first boutique store for the clothing line. She was struck by how the New York Mets' new ballpark captured some of the flavour of Ebbets Field, the cozy bandbox where her father once watched the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"Anything that pays homage to the greats before these greats is important," Milano said, sitting in the shade of the home dugout before the Mets played the Milwaukee Brewers. "Baseball is built on the history of the sport."
Milano recalled how her father, film editor Thomas Milano, was "heartbroken" when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. Eventually her family followed them to California, and their love for the team was rekindled.
"I realized (baseball) was something he loved and I could love through his eyes," she said.
The 36-year-old actress, who recently announced her engagement to Hollywood agent David Bugliari, tries to keep up with the daily grind of the 162-game season.
She called an iPhone feature that allows her to listen to radio broadcasts of major league teams "the greatest invention ever," and has a blog where she riffs on everything from the success of Padres pitcher Chris Young to "Opening Day and other Mumblings."
Her new book, with a forward by Dodgers manager Joe Torre, is a retrospective focusing on how the game has influenced her life. But she warned that it's anything but a tell-all about her relationships with star players such as Brad Penny and Carl Pavano.
As for the clothing line, Milano said approaching baseball executives to get licensing approval a few years ago made all those meetings with Hollywood big shots seem like a joke.
"It was a very intimidating to actually come in and meet with MLB," she said. "These 10 guys in suits, all over 50, and I'm trying to pitch a women's clothing line?"
Milano said she hopes the apparel, featuring everything from sweaters and jeans to caps and jackets, will help draw more women to the game.
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