CINCINNATI -- Actor Tom Hanks and two show business friends
turned a rain delay into an event Wednesday.
Hanks, director Ron Howard and comedian Dennis Miller made Great
American Ball Park their third stop on their hush-hush ballparks
tour. A two-hour rain delay during the Reds-New York Mets game
provided a chance to snap photos with fans and offer their opinions
of the game.
The trio sat behind a table in an interview room behind the
press box during the rain delay, cracking jokes and recounting
their boyhood baseball memories for the media. They'd been to
Baltimore -- Hanks led the crowd in spelling O-R-I-O-L-E-S during
the seventh-inning stretch -- and to Pittsburgh before arriving in
Hanks, a star of "The Da Vinci Code" that Howard directed,
decided to visit seven ballparks as a birthday present to himself.
"I turned 50 10 days ago." Hanks said. "This is the dream you
have all the way back."
The trio arrived without fanfare, and wouldn't say where they
were going next. Hanks said they've shortened the trip to fewer
than seven ballparks, but didn't provide more information.
"Tom is so influential that he's arranged a St. Louis Browns
game," Miller joked, referring to the defunct team.
Hanks sold peanuts and soft drinks at Oakland's ballpark as a
youth, and the Athletics remain his favorite team. Howard is a Los
Angeles Dodgers fan, while Miller prefers the Pirates.
All three suggested that former Reds player/manager Pete Rose
should be in baseball's Hall of Fame. The career hits leader
accepted a lifetime ban for gambling in 1989, and has admitted to
betting on baseball.
"Until they at least make him eligible, it's not complete,"
Asked what baseball should have done to settle the Rose scandal,
Miller said, "They should let Ray Fosse crash into his
blindside." Rose bowled over the former Cleveland catcher at home
plate to score the winning run in the 1970 All-Star game at
Hanks recalled Rose's quote about how he would have run through
fire in a gasoline suit to play baseball.
"Unfortunately," Miller interrupted, "he would have bet
whether he made it through or not."