07 August 2007

Dances With Bats

..baseball bats that is....

Kevin Costner is the latest celebrity to grace the Duke City. Recently we've hosted Russell Crowe [3:10 to Yuma], J-Lo [Bordertown], John Travolta [Wild Hogs] and Michael Bay [Transformers] all films shot here. The difference with Costner though is his involvment in the city itself, which has been kind of cool.

While filming his current movie Swing Vote here he's been getting out around town. He was spotted at the Dylan concert last week. His band Modern West played downtown Sunday night. He has even been to a few Isotopes [our local AAA ballteam] games. In fact check out this article in the paper today:

PCL: Isotopes only too happy to work out with actor Kevin Costner
James Staley (Contact)
Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Just before the national anthem, Valentino Pascucci scribbled away in the dugout, as he often does, accommodating the children asking for his autograph.

Less than an hour earlier the Isotopes first baseman was the one hoping to get something signed.

The desired signature belonged to Oscar-winning actor Kevin Costner, who participated in batting practice and hung out with the Isotopes before they rocked Colorado Springs 9-3 Monday night.

"I was fanatical (about baseball) when I was a kid," said Costner, who is in the area filming "Swing Vote" but known for multiple baseball movies. "I don't do that anymore. I don't follow it too much in the middle of the season; I have my own life. I start more in August and September. That's when it's exciting."

After contacting the team earlier this week, Costner donned an Isotopes jersey and had a locker set up between those of pitcher Daniel Barone and infielder Josh Labandeira, complete with name plate.

Players and personnel gathered around Costner like he was a campfire. The actor told stories of filming baseball movies - "Field of Dreams," "Bull Durham" and "For the Love of the Game." He seemed to relate to the group, drawing laughs and smiles, when he told them about being cursed out by an extra playing a fan at Yankee Stadium.
Costner also autographed several items.

Albuquerque catcher John Baker had a bat signed.
Pitcher Chris George got a scribble added to a "For the Love of the Game" movie poster.
Costner left his mark on one of Labandeira's cleats and dozens of baseballs.

Monday's was the second Isotopes game Costner attended. He, his wife and infant son Cayden watched the July 20 game, with no fanfare, from the stands.
"That was my son's first game," Costner said.

Throughout his career, Costner has worked out with several teams, including at his alma mater Cal State Fullerton. He has just one rule.
"I always want to make sure it's cool with the players first," said Costner, who has worked out with other teams. "That's the most important thing. Even more so than with the front office. I've had owners ask me to come, and I always say, `As long as the players think it's cool.' "
No problem there.

"Very classy," said Albuquerque manager Dean Treanor, who thought Costner's visit energized the Isotopes. "He went out of his way to talk to all the players. He just wanted to hang out. There was no pretense. He was awesome."
Said Barone: "This is pretty cool. This was the first time I got an autograph since I caddied for Fred Couples in junior high."

Chris Ashby didn't have Costner sign anything. He's not an autograph guy, plus he already has a Costner memory. Ashby had a small part in 1999's "For the Love of the Game."
So, could Ashby and Costner reunite?
"I told him if he had the same stuff he had when he made `For the Love of the Game' I was going to try to get him on the roster tonight," Treanor said.

Kudo's to Costner for participating in city life. By all accounts he's enjoying himself too!!

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