All-Star celebrity softball morphs into great game

There were plenty of bats, balls and hats on the Petco Park field Sunday night, but the MLB All Star celebrity game looked like anything but proper softball.

Until it did.

MLB All-Star Weekend Complete All-Star coverage from SFBay sportswriters Kalama Hines and David Curl from Petco Park in San Diego.

A matchup mostly famous for ridicule ended with a dramatic play at the plate where 17-year-old actor Cameron Boyce tried to rip the ball out of the hands of the catcher, fellow actor 6-foot-5 Omar Miller. Miller shook him off and held on for the final out.

From the beginning, Jamie Foxx was calling home run shots and running down the third base line. Terry Cruz performed a minute-long montage of bouncing his pectorals before swinging and missing feebly. And Kevin Millar and Chris Rose were as ridiculous as hosts as anything else going on.

As with every year, the celebrity softball game is about making a little fun of the game. Remember Snoop Dog diving over the fence for a ball that landed 50 feet away from him? The crowd is laughing, but probably not as much as the guys on the field.

Drew Brees validated his status as a professional athlete by easily bombing a solo home run and a double. And to the players’ credit, both teams scored runs at a respectable pace. After the dust had settled, the score was a healthy 8-7.

And there was some defense on display as well. 52-year-old former MLB outfielder player Billy Bean had a SportsCenter-quality sliding grab in centerfield, proving he can do more than the executive side of baseball. Landon Donovan transcended the handball rule to make some skillful plays.

But then there were moments like after the second inning, when Foxx started feeding the crowd ballpark food. And when a string of fielding and throwing errors turned a single from Donovan into what the announcers dubbed “a little-league home run.”

Softball legend Jenny Finch slugged a beautiful double in the third inning to bring some seriousness back into the run of play. Two batters later, Bean smacked a towering three-run home run to give back a 5-4 lead to the National League.

All the while, Foxx, with his own personal camera man, continued to mutter words to himself.

Taking a break from the intensity of the game, the stadium wished baseball legend Andre “the Hawk” Dawson a happy 62nd birthday.

Perhaps the surprise star of the game was Teen Wolf star Tyler Hoechlin. Multiple plays early in the game tested his glove and his arm and each time, he came through looking like he belonged at an All-Star Game. In the third inning he smashed a home run some 80 feet beyond the wall. Hoechlin went on to claim MVP of the game.

Between innings, fans were treated to individual celebrity interviews from legends and celebrities alike. Ex-Padres David Wells and Trevor Hoffman got their due love and respect.

A’s great Rickey Henderson took that as an opportunity to challenge the modern era of baseball. He joked:

“If I played today, I’d probably steal 80 bags.”

Even if fans would like to see the living legend get another shot, Henderson’s pace to first base told another story. The Hall of Famer has definitely lost a few steps.