Man, what I wouldn't give to be on this bus trip...
Laughter in the rain delay
Miller, Howard, Hanks take a road trip
BY KEVIN KELLY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A busload of baseball fans made a stop Wednesday at Great American Ball Park, and the traveling party included some of Hollywood's biggest stars.
Academy Award winners Tom Hanks and Ron Howard and Emmy Award-comedian Dennis Miller made the latest stop on what originally was a seven-city tour of Major League Baseball parks.
"I turned 50 about 10 days ago," Hanks said. "This is a dream that you have, gosh, all the way back. Wouldn't you love to be able to go to all the ballparks?
"The requisite was you had to be a baseball fan and funny to make it on the bus. We've got a bunch of guys up in the box. They're just not famous."
Great American Ball Park was the third stadium the group has visited. They stopped at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and PNC Park in Pittsburgh earlier this week.
The group spent time in Reds chief executive officer Bob Castellini's private box.
After a 2 hour, 23-minute rain delay, watched from seats two rows behind the Reds dugout.
"They've got the ballpark thing down now," Miller said. "That multipurpose thing stunk, evidently. Now they've returned to one for football and one for baseball and all the ballparks are beautiful."
Miller is a Pittsburgh native and a lifelong Pirates fan.
"I remember when Bob Prince used to call games here at Crosley Field," Miller said. "Somebody would hit a home run, it was like only 303 feet, and he'd say, 'That's out, over the moon deck, into a pick-up truck on I-75 and on its way to Dayton."
As for his favorite player in the game today?
"I like the natural strength of that Barry Bonds guy," Miller joked.
Hanks at one time sold peanuts and soda during A's games at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, and counts the Dodgers as his favorite team.
So, too, does Howard.
"I grew up with the Dodgers," Howard said. "Fell in love with them in (1963) and Vin Scully taught me everything I know about baseball. And I love it. Just love it."
Howard shared a story about posing as a rookie Dodgers player after a "Happy Days" cast game at Dodger Stadium.
"I was out on the field shagging balls - had a mustache and I had kind of long hair because it was in between the (filming) season," Howard said. "Jerry Reuss came up and said, 'You've got to dress as this kid (Dave) Patterson. He's late to the game and you look just like him.'
"So I put on Patterson's uniform. All the coaches are waving at me ... and suddenly Patterson comes out in uniform panicked."
Miller added: "You know when Ronnie quit doing that to him? When he woke up the next week and Patterson was cashing his Richie Cunningham check."
Hanks relayed a story about having dinner in New York when Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, who was dining at the same restaurant, asked to meet him.
"I had a very nice sit down with the man," Hanks said. "He was a true gentleman."
Howard likes to refer to Hanks as the DiMaggio of the film business.
"Dom DiMaggio?" Hanks responded.
Hanks believes Pete Rose should be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Howard quit visiting the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown because Rose isn't enshrined.
"At one point it dawned on me," he said, "that until they at least make him eligible, it's not complete."