NEW YORK—The list of happenings in Sunday’s Futures Game that got the World Dugout excited can be counted on one hand:
• Che-Hsuan Lin’s seventh-inning home run, which accounted for the last two runs of the World’s 3-0 victory, roused everyone off the bench and up for a high-five or fist bump, though it was a little funny to have the Latin-tinged song "I Like It Like That" blaring as he rounded the bases.
After the game, Lin took being booed by the Yankee Stadium partisans—certainly because he’s a Red Sox farmhand—in stride, saying it’s just "part of tradition". Apparently, the new tradition is players from Taiwan winning the Futures Game MVP, as Lin and countryman Chin-Lung Hu (Dodgers) have the last two years.
• The appearance of ESPN’s Erin Andrews in the World dugout got virtually every player chirping and talking, or at least looking. It was the first time many of them weren’t checking out the blond reporter from ESPN Deportes who had been interviewing many of them before and during the game in the dugout.
• Athletics farmhand Henry Rodriguez blowing 100 mph cheddar past Chris Valaika, Greg Golson and Chris Getz in the bottom of the eighth, puncutated by Rodriguez falling down after throwing a 99 mph fastball to Getz.
After the inning, he came into the dugout to a chorus of cheers and round of high-fives. As he took a spot on the top step of the dugout to watch the top of the ninth, I sidled up to him to ask if he spoke enough English to come on the radio with us at XM Radio. "No sir!" he responded with a smile. Then when I congratulated him on throwing 100 mph, he smiled and said thanks, adding "That was fun." So when I chided him about falling down, he smiled and added, "That was fun too."
But nothing really got the World Team going, not even winning, as much as when the celebrities for the softball game started showing up. One by one, the likes of Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal and Chris Rock started showing up on the field, and all the digital cameras and video cameras came out. World players such as Pablo Sandoval and Elvis Andrus made it a point to ask for the celebrities to pose with them for pictures.
Yet another sign that the Celebrity Softball game is a bigger deal for many people, including, apparently, some of the participants.