Typically, the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game draws a strong crew of Hollywood personalities. This year, however, is anything but typical. Yankee Stadium brings out the stars, and that was never more evident than late afternoon on Sunday, when some of the biggest names from both Hollywood and baseball poured onto the field for the annual light-hearted softball event. On the celebrity side was the most famous of all Yankees diehards, actor and comedian Billy Crystal, along with Oscar Award winners Whoopi Goldberg and Marlee Matlin. They joined Chris Rock and George Lopez; celebrity chef Bobby Flay; director Spike Lee; defensive end Justin Tuck from the Super Bowl champion New York Giants; celebrity softball game veteran James Denton of "Desperate Housewives;" TV correspondents Maria Menounos and AJ Calloway; and actors William Baldwin and Kyle Massey. Major League legends included Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith; Rich "Goose" Gossage; Tony Perez; Dave Winfield; George Brett; Ernie Banks; Gary Carter; Rollie Fingers; Wade Boggs and Paul Molitor; plus seven-time All-Star Tim Raines and Yankees fan favorites Tino Martinez and Paul O'Neill. Asked to compare this experience with the one at-bat he received after signing a one-day contract with the Yankees during Spring Training, Crystal was diplomatic as he weighed the pros of both. "This is softball," Crystal said. "That [Spring Training game] was leading off for the Yankees with Derek Jeter in the on-deck circle. Come on. Pretty amazing." But that game was played in Tampa, Fla., at the Yankees' Spring Training facility. Although Sunday's event was exhibition softball, it was played right on the real field, the same one Crystal's heroes of yesteryear -- especially the great Mickey Mantle -- roamed decades earlier.moreless
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