All-Star weekend lacks punch. The home run derby has gotten immensely boring. None of the sport’s biggest stars participate for fear of struggling in the second half. (Players believe there’s a “curse” on anyone who wins the derby, so Yankees and Rays fans rejoiced when David Ortiz won it).
The celebrity softball game has immense potential, but it also falls flat. For starters, it’s played on Sunday night. Why not play it before Monday night’s home run derby, and televise it? The game probably wouldn’t generate a good TV rating in its current format.
But, what if we enhanced it? This year’s biggest draws ...
Softball player Jennie Finch, TV host Maria Menounos and model Marisa Miller — great supporting cast, but nobody’s filling up a stadium to see just those females play against the likes of Rickey Henderson, Bo Jackson and other former stars.
Our proposal: Why not have one year where MLB invites some of the more famous wives and ex-girlfriends of players?
Sure, some of them are certifiable stars who don’t need to play in a meaningless softball game for a bump in popularity. But, if their handlers were smart, they’d think, ‘Wow, we can get [enter TV/movie star here] a whole new fan demographic simply by playing in a softball game for a few hours?’
For instance, you could have an outfield comprised of celebrities that used to date Derek Jeter. Imagine Jessica Biel in left, Jessica Alba in right and Mariah Carey in center. Since they’re probably not all that athletically inclined — although Biel is in terrific shape and starred in that horribly bad movie “Summer Catch” — why not toss a couple of A-Rod’s former flames (Madonna, Kate Hudson) out there as well?
Can you imagine a slick-fielding infield of current wives and girlfriends? A star-studded lineup: Matt Kemp’s girlfriend Rihanna; Zack Greinke’s wife, Emily Kuchar, a former Cowboys cheerleader; Jeter’s girlfriend, Minka Kelly; Cole Hamels’ wife, Heidi Strobel, of “Survivor” fame; and Scott Podsednik’s wife, Lisa Dergan, a playmate?
Alyssa Milano,who probably has dated more MLB players than anyone, could be the teams’ captain, and a yearly staple.
– Jason Raj McIntyre covers athletes off the field and runs the popular blog, The Big Lead.
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