Aside from the MLB All-Star Game itself and the Home Run
Derby, the most anticipated and watched element of each year’s All-Star Weekend
is the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. Once again this year, “Mr. Cub®” Ernie
Banks will be heading up the National League team, which is looking to rebound
after last year’s loss in Anaheim.
“I’m not quite sure whether I will get a Jonas Brother or
an American Idol winner, but I’m hopin’ the National League team can make some
sweet music during this year’s softball game,” joked the ever-friendly and
entertaining Banks. “I told the
folks at Taco Bell that we should play two…but they don’t think we will have
enough TV time.”
Joining Mr. Banks in the light-hearted, but sometimes
serious contest will be Hall of Famers Goose Gossage, who is expected to manage
the American League team, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson and Rollie Fingers.
Filling out the all time All-Star contingent will be Fred Lynn, Mike Piazza,
Steve Garvey and Bernie Williams, as well as D-backs legends Luis Gonzalez and
Mark Grace, a longtime Cubs player and lifelong fan of Mr. Cub.
“Nobody is more beloved in the baseball
world than Ernie Banks and he’s sure to keep things lively before, during and
after this year’s softball game,” Grace said. “The first one there and the last one signing autographs. Ernie is a great role model for today’s
young players and fans.”
The 2011 Legends and Celebrity Softball game, which will
be played after the XM All-Star Futures Game on July 10 at Chase Field in
Phoenix is also scheduled to include: Country music star Jason Aldean, Pop
artist Nick Jonas, American Idol winner and Arizona native Jordin Sparks, Glee
sensation Chord Overstreet, Tim DeKay from White Collar, Jesse Williams from
Grey's Anatomy, Paul DiMeo from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Tom Papa from
the Marriage Ref, Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald, and USA Softball's
Jennie Finch, a University of Arizona alum.
"I love All-Star, I love being around
baseball, it's a great couple of days and I'm excited," said Finch, who
last year became the first woman to homer in the event. "I'm honored to
represent softball at the All-Star Game."
The game will be televised in HD by ESPN the next day,
immediately following the State Farm Home Run Derby at approximately 10:30 p.m.
ET on July 11. The game also will be available on ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV.