By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published Jul 08, 2002 at 5:30 AM

If you're into celebrity watching, this is a rare opportunity in Milwaukee. Celebrities of all kinds have flocked to town to join baseball's All Stars.

The rosters for Sunday's Celebrity Softball Game included NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., rocker Meat Loaf, recording artist Coolio, actress Nadia Dajani, Kevin James of King of Queens, Wisconsin native Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff of NBC's West Wing, Olympians Picabo Street and Derek Parra and NFL commentator and Hall of Famer Howie Long.

Ernie Banks, George Brett, Ryne Sandberg, Cecil Fielder, Cecil Cooper, Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn, Don Mattingly, John Kruk and Dave Winfield were among the baseball legends who played in the game.

Celebrities and the baseball legends were combined into two teams -- the Brew Crew and the Wallbangers. With Meat Loaf pitching to Fielder, the Wallbangers loaded up with one of the heftier batteries in softball history, but Ozzie Smith, who weighs about as much as one of Cecil's legs, took the Loaf deep for a homer in the first inning.

The Loaf created a controversy in the second inning when he asked to check Brett's bat for pine tar, a stunt the Hall of Famer undoubtedly has put up with many times since his famous pine tar incident during his playing days.

Former Brewer Rollie Fingers got the crowd of 37,414 chanting "Rollie, Rollie" with a two-run homer for the Wallbangers in the third inning. But, Rollie relieved the Loaf in the last inning and, instead of recording a save like he did so many times for the Brewers, blew a 4-2 lead, with Mattingly getting a key home run. Kruk also homered in the inning as the Brew Crew posted a 7-4 win.

ESPN will broadcast the Celebrity softball game at 9 p.m. Monday after live coverage of the Home Run Derby.

Some baseball legends started coming to Milwaukee as early as Friday for autograph sessions at the John Hancock Fanfest. Brooks Robinson, Steve Garvey, Luis Aparicio, Bob Feller, Fred Lynn, Earl Weaver, Harmon Killebrew and others joined former Brewers Fingers, Jim Gantner, Mike Caldwell and Gorman Thomas at autograph booths. Many of the baseball legends also have scheduled appearances around Milwaukee in the next couple days.

Corporations from all over the country are holding a variety of parties around town during the five-days. Celebrities from the entertainment, sports and business worlds are on guest lists for those events.

The All Star week culminates with an invitation only gala at the Milwaukee Art Museum on Tuesday night.

Futures Game

Some future All Stars might have played in the Futures Game at Miller Park Sunday. The World Team scored all its runs in the third inning to defeat the U.S. team, 5-1. Jose Reyes, a Mets' prospect, earned the Larry Doby MVP award for his three-run triple in the big inning.

Two Brewers' prospects, shortstop Gary Hall and third baseman Corey Hart, played in Sunday's game. Hall played as a reserve shortstop, made two nifty defensive plays and popped out in his only at-bat. Hart entered the game as a DH and struck out for the last out.

Hall, who could be with the Brewers as a September callup, said, "It's an honor to be selected to play in this game. We all want to be big leaguers here. This gives us a look at what life in the big leagues could be like."

Molly's Back

Former Brewer Paul Molitor returned to Milwaukee to manage the U.S. team in the Future's Game and indicated he wouldn't mind managing in the majors, perhaps even for the Brewers.

"When Wendy (Selig-Prieb) and I talked last April, it was a very good talk," Molitor said, more or less confirming he did talk with the Brewers when Davey Lopes was fired as manager.

"I'm glad I took this year away from the game, but I strongly would like to get back on the field in some capacity. If I ever decide to manage, I think it would be a place that you're familiar with. Milwaukee being my longest team as a player, there will be a connection there.

"To be honest, I'm not going to start to say I'm going to be here in Milwaukee. That's not a likely thing, but I will always be open to the Brewers' situation."

Molitor said he remains close with Commissioner Bud Selig and respects Wendy. He said he also would consider a major league coaching position and "in some ways would maybe even prefer that."

On the state of labor negotiations, Molitor, a one-time player rep, said he was not "overly optimistic" that the players and owners will reach an agreement. The players were scheduled to meet in Chicago on Monday and could set a strike date for August.

Taylor Talk

GM Dean Taylor said Sunday he would talk with other GMs about possible deals during the All Star period. "It is always a good time for us to get together and talk," he said. "We would entertain anything that would make our ballclub better for the future."

Taylor said he would be most open to trading one of the Brewers' seven potential free agents for young talent, ala the David Weathers for Ruben Quevedo deal of last season. Jose Hernandez, one of the Brewers' two All Star picks, is a free agent after this season.


Rumors circulated Sunday about an ESPN report that Taylor will be fired right after the All Star break. Brewers PR director Jon Greenberg "categorically" denied the report.


The John Hancock Fanfest, which started Friday, has been drawing record crowds at the Midwest Express Center. It truly is a smorgasbord for any baseball fan.

Hardcore fans will especially enjoy the collectibles section on the third floor. More casual fans might want to try the variety of interactive activities. Families will be happy to learn there are numerous participatory activities and clinics for the kids.

A timed entrance ticket policy has avoided long lines at the entrances. A warning though; if you want to get an autograph you might have to wait up to an hour.

NL Roster Changes

Philadelphia pitcher Vicente Padilla and San Francisco pitcher Robb Nenn were named as replacement players for the National League All Stars Sunday. The Cardinals' Matt Morris and Braves' Tom Glavine had to be scratched because of injuries, but are attending the festivities.

Home Run Derby Next

Look for another special Brew Crew Review Tuesday, covering Monday night's Home Run Derby and other All Star events. The Brewers' Richie Sexson has been added to the Derby lineup.

Gregg Hoffmann is writing special editions of The Brew Crew Review during All Star Week.

Gregg Hoffmann Special to
Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, author and publisher of Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles Web sites. Hoffmann, a retired senior lecturer in journalism at UWM, writes The State Sports Buzz and Beyond Milwaukee on a monthly basis for OMC.