Baseball blends past with present

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NEW YORK --- Alex Rodriguez cut across the diamond to third base, then warmly embraced Chipper Jones, Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, George Brett and Wade Boggs.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (bottom ) chats with Reggie Jackson while Yankees manager Joe Girardi (far right) talks to Yogi Berra during opening ceremonies at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the last to be played at Yankee Stadium, on Tuesday night. Other Yankees embracing Hall of Famers who played for the club were closer Mariano Rivera with Rich "Goose" Gossage (top) and shortstop Derek Jeter with Whitey Ford.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (bottom ) chats with Reggie Jackson while Yankees manager Joe Girardi (far right) talks to Yogi Berra during opening ceremonies at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the last to be played at Yankee Stadium, on Tuesday night. Other Yankees embracing Hall of Famers who played for the club were closer Mariano Rivera with Rich "Goose" Gossage (top) and shortstop Derek Jeter with Whitey Ford.

Now that's some hot corner.

Baseball blended its past and present Tuesday, starting with Yogi Berra leading a red-carpet parade through midtown Manhattan. Hours later, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron highlighted a procession of 49 Hall of Famers onto the Yankee Stadium field before the All-Star Game.

Starting pitchers Ben Sheets and Cliff Lee were greeted by the likes of Bob Gibson, Bob Feller and Steve Carlton.

"Kind of nervous to meet the guys on the mound," Sheets said after throwing two scoreless innings. "Probably should have been in the bullpen, but I didn't care.

"The pregame ceremony was amazing," he added.

Toronto ace Roy Halladay enjoyed the experience and had only one regret.

"The one guy I read a lot about but didn't get to meet, Whitey Ford," Halladay said. "It was very impressive."

Once all the Hall of Famers took their old spots, the starting All-Stars trotted out to join them. New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter drew a rousing ovation on his way toward his position -- and the eye of ol' Brooksie.

Earlier in the day, Robinson said Jeter was his favorite player to watch "but I've never met him."

"Maybe tonight," Robinson said.

Known for throwing hard, high and tight, Gibson presented a much different face at the festivities. The no-nonsense pitcher waved to thousands of fans and beamed for their snapshots during the parade.

Hey Gibby, going soft on us at 72? Not even one glare for the crowd?

"I really am getting tired of it," the St. Louis Cardinals great said. He was joking, sort of.

"I didn't do half the things they said I did," he said. "They said I was always knocking guys down and hitting guys. But I won a game or two in there."


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