Last night I had the most enjoyable baseball night of my life (while not physically being at a game). Bob Costas was doing a live taping of Costas Now at the Skirball Center at NYU and through the fortune of being on the Syracuse alumni list, I got tickets to go. It was billed as a Town Hall on the state of baseball today.
He had on current all-stars (Evan Langoria, Jimmy Rollins, and a pitcher for the Tigers whose name I'm blanking on) talking about the state of the game today from a players perspective. Rollins had some great stuff to say about the decline of African Americans playing and took the booing from the Met fans in attendance, in stride.
Former all-stars (Dave Winfield, Steve Palmer, and Pete Rose by satellite), talked about the game in their day and the Hall of Fame (whether Rose deserves to be in it and Bonds and McGuire). Andy Van Slyke and Arte Moreno spoke about today's game from a coach/owner perspective.
But, the kicker was the end of the program when Costas interviewed Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. They were supposed to have the last 30 minutes of a 90 minute program (with another 5 minutes of conversation on HBO.com), but they kept talking so much that, after the fact, the show decided to make that section it's own episode, so we got close to an hour of conversation between Aaron, Mays and Costas. Plus, a few asides were thrown in b y Bob Gibson from the audience. It was just amazing. They spoke about playing in the Negro Leagues, as well as how it was playing for MLB baseball when they were either unable to stay in certain hotels or when the hotels were finally integrated, they got the worst rooms. They talked drugs (both amphetamines and steroids) and Barry Bonds. They talked about the most intimidating pitcher they faced... Gibson with Don Drysdale a close second. It was fabulous. They got 3 standing ovations in the 60 minutes. Costas was clearly having a ball.
So, if you like baseball, check it out. And tomorrow night, Billy Joel at Shea. Life is grand.