Celebrities love the World Series

Originally Published: November 5, 2009
By Laura Lane | Special to Page 2

Just a couple of minutes after the New York Yankees' World Series-clinching 7-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night and a couple of seconds after the championship hats and T-shirts were ripped from cardboard boxes and distributed to the Yankees' players, Alex Rodriguez raced for third base. He ran past it toward the stands and jumped up to his beaming and blushing blond girlfriend, Kate Hudson, her stepfather, Kurt Russell, and Rodriguez's sister, Suzy. Some fans tried to grab him; others vigorously reached for their cell phones to snap a picture.

[+] EnlargeAlex Rodriguez
AP Photo/David J. PhillipA-Rod was leaping around the field in joy after winning his first world championship.

An embrace ensued, and words were exchanged, but they were muffled by the cheers echoing throughout the stadium. Then Rodriguez turned and ran back toward the temporary stage and podium set up in the middle of the field.

All around was utter chaos as the celebration raged on. The Yankees were world champions.

"I just love watching baseball when you can watch the two best teams play," Russell said moments later. The actor, whom Hudson considers her father, was in Rodriguez's seats behind third base wearing a Yankees jacket throughout the World Series. "And, of course, with Alex since this summer and our getting to know him, I'm so happy for him. He's a terrific kid!"

Major League Baseball had its pop culture radar on full blast for this year's World Series. Political figures and other people of prominence were all over Yankee Stadium and Citizens Bank Park, too.

In the tunnel, Mary J. Blige, who had performed the national anthem a few hours earlier, was whisked away with her entourage toward her car. The singer was still wearing a pair of oversized shades even though it was past midnight and she was indoors.

Outside on the field, the players were overwhelmed with emotion.

"Words can't really describe it," outfielder Nick Swisher said when asked what he thought of the Yankees' unprecedented 27th World Series title. "I think I want to do a lot of jumping around, a lot of screaming and yelling, probably just a lot of gibberish right now. … I'm going to Disneyland!"

Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" was blasting over and over throughout the stadium. It's been the team's longtime theme song, slightly challenged this year for playing time by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind." Derek Jeter changed his at-bat song to it a couple of months ago, and it became an anthem for the team during the postseason. In fact, it became so popular, the Yankees had the duo perform the song at Yankee Stadium just before Game 2 of the World Series.

"New York City brings out the best, and Jay-Z is certainly a part of New York," Yankees great Reggie Jackson said. "He's part of the sports world and a part of some of the guys on our team, and I'm glad he's part of the Yankees."

[+] EnlargeJay-Z and Alicia Keys
Rich Pilling/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesJay-Z and Alicia Keys had Yankee Stadium rocking before Game 2.

Jay-Z seemed just as glad to be a part of the team. During the sound check before his Game 2 appearance with Keys, he was seen running around the outfield pretending to catch invisible fly balls. Yankee Stadium has a way of turning grown men, even superstars, into wide-eyed children.

Jeremy Piven of "Entourage" looked like an overwhelmed kid trying to fit in with the big boys as he walked around the field during batting practice before Game 6 -- and not just because most people towered over him. "I'm going to possibly have an adult beverage and scream," Piven said of his postgame celebration plans.

Even America's royalty came out for the World Series. First lady Michelle Obama and the vice president's wife, Jill Biden, were on the field before Game 1. They joined Yankees legend and World War II veteran Yogi Berra and Tony Odierno, who had lost his left arm while serving in the war in Iraq. The overload of Secret Service only increased the excitement of the World Series kickoff -- not that it was lacking any hype. Vice President Joe Biden attended Game 3 in Philadelphia despite a rain delay of more than an hour, which meant the Secret Service could again be spotted lurking around the stadium -- only this time wearing ponchos.

Besides the performances by Jay-Z, Keys and Blige, Monday's Game 5 featured Alanis Morissette belting out the national anthem, and the cast of Fox's hit show "Glee" performed the anthem before Game 3.

"That's when you know people are watching your show a little bit, when you're singing at the World Series," "Glee" star Cory Monteith said before his performance. "It's a big deal."

Some of the entertainment world's top dogs were out for Game 6. Jimmy Fallon lingered after the game at his seat behind home plate next to "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Regis Philbin sat together and chatted in a luxury suite.

Tennis star Andy Roddick and his supermodel wife, Brooklyn Decker, tried to blend in with the crowd, while down on the diamond players scoured the field in search of their significant others and children after the game. Swisher and his actress girlfriend, Joanna Garcia, were hand in hand. "It means everything to him!" Garcia said as they raced across the field.

"I was sprinting out of the bullpen trying to jump on people!" Yankees reliever Phil Coke said, reminiscing about the last out of the game. "As many as I could!"

Three policemen asked Coke whether they could take a picture with him, and the pitcher happily obliged. "It'll be my mug shot, except I'm smiling and don't have shiny bracelets on!" Coke said.

The three officers were drenched in champagne from when Coke decided to carry two bottles of champagne from the clubhouse into the dugout, spraying fans, cops and film director Spike Lee, who had been watching the spectacle from his front-row seat behind the Yankees' dugout and snapping away with his paparazzi-sized camera.

[+] EnlargeSpike Lee and New York Yankees
Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesThat's Spike Lee right above the Yankees dugout, snapping photos.

A dozen seats away sat one of New York City's most prominent figures, former mayor Rudy Giuliani.

"It's really very exciting, and it's great to see Hideki Matsui have one of the greatest World Series games ever," Giuliani said of the World Series MVP, who went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and six RBIs in the game. "We've been waiting for nine years for another one!"

Giuliani was standing by his usual front-row seats to the right of the Yankees' dugout with his wife, Judith, high-fiving players as they walked by. "We're probably going to go back home and watch the game, which we TiVo'd," Giuliani said.

"We tend to watch them again and again and again," Judith explained. "I only watch the winning games again, I don't watch the losing games," Giuliani added.

Lee was one of the last recognizable faces to leave the stadium, well after 1 a.m. When Lee was asked what it would take for his other beloved team, the Knicks, to step up and win a championship for the city, his answer was simple. "We need LeBron for that to happen," Lee said.

As the record crowd of 50,315 slowly began to dwindle, and players and their families continued on to more postgame celebrations, five words were lit up in gold on the giant video screen:

"Boss, This Is For You."

Laura Lane is a contributor to Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. She is also a host of the "ESPN Inside Deal" video magazine.