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July 11, 1999

Kevin Costner

Mark Harmon


Q. As baseball fans, could there be a better place to have the last All-Star Game this century than Fenway Park?

KEVIN COSTNER: I think this represents the one or two ballparks you'd like to close this kind of chapter out, I guess Wrigley or this particular field would really hold those kind of things -- really holding onto an idea, I think both those parks. So this park certainly worked out for everybody. Maybe the planets are lining up for baseball.

Q. Satisfied with your swings out there?

KEVIN COSTNER: Yeah, I would have liked, and I'm sure Mark would have liked a second round, and see who gets in the championship round. You're out there, you'd like to have another seven cuts, and then add up the score and go into another round. I wouldn't mind having them let us play a little defense over the line.

Q. It looked like a little maze out there with all the numbers?


Q. You're in favor of having maybe a celebrity team game or something like that?

MARK HARMON: Kevin and I have done that once.

KEVIN COSTNER: That's not true. You're a good player, I think anybody would rather play a game than throwing darts, that's kind of what we were doing out there. So you see a lot of different things come out in people in a game, and just because a guy doesn't hit sometimes doesn't mean they don't find ways to win. And in a game like this, it's darts.

Q. So if you could have a team, who would you have on your team?

KEVIN COSTNER: I'd have guys that, No. 1, know the game, and want to play it right. We're all doing something else with our life so all of us are going to be a little stiff and have about the range of a Westinghouse. But it's fun to play with people who know how to play, throw to the right base, it's fun to do it that way. You find, if you do it that way, you win a lot of games. Pros find if you play that way you win a lot of games playing the game the way it's supposed to be played, not just with raw ability.

Q. How does this compare to hitting on the set or doing something in front of the film, for film, in front of a camera, as opposed to doing it in front of a live audience.

MARK HARMON: There's always a take two.

KEVIN COSTNER: That's why I let him answer.

MARK HARMON: I just find the big difference is -- I haven't picked up a baseball bat or hit a hardball since high school, the idea in my brain I still think I can get around on an inside pitch, and you pop it up straight in the air. And when you have seven swings, you have six left. I'd like another seven cuts, if they'd give me a chance to do it. But hands down, I enjoyed doing it, this is a remarkable experience, to have -- as experiences go, to stand at the plate at Fenway and take seven cuts. I'd love to do it all again tomorrow.

KEVIN COSTNER: Sports are about taking chances. You could strike out, you could humiliate yourself. But if you're in the right frame of mind, you don't think that, you think I'm going to hit it off the wall. I'm going to win, I'm going to hit it off the wall. It's always been that way. I can't imagine playing sports so timidly that you think you're going to humiliate yourself. Those chances are great, because it's just the nature of the things. There's a lot of things that conspire against you. We were hitting under the stadium with real light balls, and we got out and they were real dark balls. The kind of balls I played with in the streets. The pitchers -- some pitchers pitch from the mound and some pitch more up front. There's small curves in the way about how to deal with it. But it's much better to try than to say, oh, I could just fail in front of so many people.

Q. This is for both of you, the All-Star Weekend has turned into an experience not only to players but for fans, celebrities and so forth. How do you feel about the whole experience as opposed to just a game featuring the All-Stars?

KEVIN COSTNER: I think one of the great sporting events that I've been able to attend and I think the greatest sporting event going for the fan is the Final Four in college basketball. It brings you to a city, chances are you don't live there, and you have three or four nights in the city, you get to see, not only experience the game, but the city, and I'm glad to see what's happening with the expansion of the Super Bowl. Because Super Bowl you go and watch the game and you think, what happened? In trying to create atmospheres that bring people to cities and hold them longer, so the attention doesn't single itself out in one moment, which it inevitably does, because that's the seminal moment of why we come to Boston, to watch the best players play. But when you afford fans being able to be a part of the situation, us to be able to come and kind of play, hopefully not darts, but just to play, I'm kind of on that theme, aren't I? But you can stretch it into two or three days if you create legitimate forums for people to participate and for people to watch. That's why the Final Four I think is so great.

Q. Do you guys plan to mount any tack on the defending champions next year in Atlanta.

KEVIN COSTNER: I don't even acknowledge that they won, so the defending champions doesn't mean a lot to me. I think we'll come, as long as we're asked.

MARK HARMON: It's about getting asked.

Q. Did you -- you visited Spring Training with the Rockies. Are you planning to do that again?

KEVIN COSTNER: Baseball has always wrapped me under their winning nicely, I was making a movie, and Baylor was magnanimous enough to let me come in. The guys treat me great. I don't ever assume I can play, because I've had some association with the game or I know or you're a celebrity. They want to share what they have. And if you do it quietly, it's amazing how they let you go out there and take balls, if you feel like you can.

Q. In your opinion as both athletes and fans, what makes the baseball All-Star Game different than some of the other All-Star games in other sports. I asked the players about this, I'd be interested in what you gentlemen think. Compare them to other sports' All-Star games.

KEVIN COSTNER: It's a little harder for All-Stars? Football to get together and create plays that aren't pretty stock and standard. It's a little hard, basketball guys don't play that much with each other. Baseball is -- I think All-Star teams can meld a lot quicker than normal sports that really have a strategy.

Q. It lends itself to the high level of competition. It seems like the level of the All-Star Baseball Game is pretty close, compared to the exhibition games you see in other sports.

MARK HARMON: They're great players. And I imagine playing the kind of schedule they play, if you asked them and really asked them, they'd all appreciate three days off, when it got right down to it. To heal up. There's a torrid kind of pace to really think about playing, but the idea that they're here. The idea that guys who were at this game 20 years ago were here. You walk into the lobby of the hotel, and you run into Ernie Banks. Last time I met him I was ten years old. So I don't know how you replace that or how you get the opportunity to put yourself in that position to have that experience unless you're asked. And we happen to be lucky enough to do something in our careers that provides people thinking, hey, let's invite them.

KEVIN COSTNER: I saw Brock in the dugout, I really wanted to say something to him, because I saw him when he was great. I said, hey -- (indicating), he said I know. We had this complete dialogue where we didn't say anything, you know what I mean? Yeah, I do. I said great. And you walk away.

Q. What are your general feelings about Fenway Park and where it stands and its history, and the historical significance?

MARK HARMON: Well, I grew up as a kid -- we really need Doug, where is he? I grew up watching this ballpark and watching the people come through here, and looking at the Green Monster on television or reading about it in the newspaper, and all of a sudden coming here and standing at the baseline today is unheard of. And they talked about there is or isn't going to be a new ballpark. And for what it's worth, it's not just about money and ticket sales, to me, places like this, places like Wrigley, you can't replace that. I don't want to, not for me.

KEVIN COSTNER: Whether it goes or doesn't go, I tell you, baseball has got to take a really hard look at itself, where it's at in parity and being fair, because when I was little you watched the same guys, you don't see that anymore. When you realize that one guy makes something and the other team doesn't, there's going to have to be a golden age of leadership, whether it come through management or the players, where they stop and look at each other and say how are we going to level the field because our egos and salaries and everything else -- it's a very tough question. We're going to have to have some big men to step forward to even this game out, so that we won't have preconceived ideas who is going to be where they're at, and if two teams end up and one is high payroll and one is low payroll, and one is immediately Goliath and one is David. This game was about being fair. If you played it in the street and you were the best player, it was your obligation to make the team fair. You say I'll take Joey, who everybody puts in right field, he's on my team. And unless you can do that, you're not a man. And we need the men in this League, in this game, to step forward and find a solution to parity, to fair play, and I don't know why, it seems as complicated as getting control of guns. It's like can't we see that it's a little uneven right now. Men of goodwill, women of goodwill should be able to sort this out and the big salaries maybe should come from performance on some level, I don't know. Sorry about all that.

Q. Kevin and Mark, also, what is it to this game of baseball that lends itself to so many movies coming out about the sport, and usually decent movies.

MARK HARMON: I think they're really human stories. Stories about the human spirit. And I don't know any actors who aren't competitors, not one. And most of us have some sort of sports thing in our background, and maybe that's why we chose the field we chose. But to me, and call me an apathetic jock or call me whatever you want, but that's the kind of stories I like to see. I think they're important. And you know what? And I realized that coaching a bunch of ten years old in Little League, that's where I realized it. Because when the truth was I was watching Roger Maris when I was growing up, and these kids are watching other things, SportsCenter and ESPN, and it's just a different kind of reflection and lesson there. And to learn the game and to teach the game, certainly to a bunch of ten years old, in most cases if you could eliminate the parents, you might have a chance to do it.

KEVIN COSTNER: I don't think you can make a sports movie about sports. I think it always has to be about people. And what are backdrop you choose to make it, be it baseball, basketball, what you need to do is honor the athleticism it requires to make a movie, because even nonathletes can tell what an unathletic movement looks like, it's a very balletic type of thing. It's always disappointing, probably it's one of the few times where I would opt for the player than I would as an actor in my profession. If you play baseball you really have to be able to play. And when you can't you cut around them, at least I'm going to cut around them, because there's a purity of sport that I don't want to see end up on the film. The second thing you take into consideration is we're never going to be like these ball players. We don't fool ourself, we don't kid ourself, we were never them. And I just try to insist on as much of it coming out as the sport requires.

Q. You had a chance to go to the College World Series, what's your message there?

KEVIN COSTNER: I have my own ideas about things, I usually try to keep them on a personal level, and not on a mass level. The college kids want to know stuff, about the world. Part of my thing is to speak at colleges, whether it's to the business department or the sports guys or the theater department, because deep down they don't want to be BS'd about anything. They want to know, they don't want to be fooled. And the thing that you try to say to them, you know they're not going to hear, because you didn't hear it either, is that they're never going to be this strong again. They're never going to have the problems that come with adult life, be it marriage and divorce and death and everything that comes. These are seminal moments where they feel close, and they should take stock in themselves, especially in the World Series, where they end up there's the eight best teams in the country, very difficult to get there. It's a small window of opportunity that they've all stepped through. And I try to just, without knowing, just say you are going to look back on this and know that this was one of the great moments in your life. So try to absorb as much as you can, even though you might not be able to appreciate what I'm saying, and just how they conduct themselves when they're out there. There's an obligation.

Q. Can you compare that to this weekend, talk about your experience here? You chose not to show the film here this weekend, where you did out in Omaha.

KEVIN COSTNER: It's showing tomorrow. And I felt confident about showing it. It's in a rough state, but I feel like the right people will look at it in the correct way, and it's good enough to show. So I feel confident about the movie, it's kind of a thank you to the guys in Major League Baseball and the Detroit Tigers and Mr. Steinbrenner and the Yankees.

Q. You spoke about the nobility of spirit and about the nobility of people who play the game. And I was wondering who did you look up to that sort of exemplified that spirit when you were a kid growing up?

KEVIN COSTNER: You almost can't get at the nobility unless you're willing to look at the vulgarity of the game. The hours in the dugout, the spitting, the talking, whatever. And then there's moments that happen in baseball that are singular and if you can hear the music of the of the Angels. I like that Ed Sabol guy, this guy makes me cry, No. 19, Johnny Unitas, I'm always weeping (laughter.) I used to do the same with all sports films. So I don't know what it is. It's almost like voodoo to talk about the nobility of it. It's just everybody recognizes it when it happens. We're going to see Ted some point during this week, and I'm not sure any of us know what condition we're going to actually see him. And I'm sure there's people who saw him when he was the strongest man in the world. And he's going to look different. And when you see him there's going to be immediate nobility in him, and everybody is going to recognize it, and nobody is going to have to put a sign behind it, we're going to recognize it. And that's a -- it's a title you can't give anybody, you just go, here he comes.

MARK HARMON: When I was ten I was standing on the right field line during Little League Day at Dodger Stadium, and we were yelling for Willie to come over, but for some reason Ernie Banks did, they were playing the Cubs, and he worked his way down the right field before the game, and I was standing there with hundreds of others, and we were all in uniform. And he kind of came to me and other kids, and he said, do you want me to sign something and I had nothing to sign, and I gave him my right shoe, and he signed it. And I ran into Ernie two years ago at a benefit, physically he's locked in my brain as a ten year old. I walked in this place and there was a guy with a video camera, and he said I'm Ernie Banks. And I said I have to tell you this story, you signed my shoe that day and I went through the whole thing. And every day when I dug in with my right foot, I looked down and I saw Ernie Banks on the flap of my shoe. And he said that's great, I got that on film. But for me that's what the game is, that's what the game is. And you know what? Even by being here, that's what I'm trying to pass on. And frankly, you know what? I'm glad to see Kevin play Crash, instead of Tony Perkins playing Jimmy Piersal. There's a pride involved. And we're not them, and they're not us. But at the same time what's good to the game is important.

KEVIN COSTNER: I tell you, I think it's noble to see a Little Leaguer show up in his uniform and glove and all he thinks is he's going to catch a ball. And the odds of that are whatever. But there's something ennobling about that. The dad half the time is saying no, you're going to lose the glove. You're going to get Coke on it, you're going to lose it. And they say, no, I want it. And it's like baseball, that part never changes.

MARK HARMON: I came down the leftfield line and looking along, there was a little kid behind the dugout, and I threw it like this, and some big grown-up grabbed it, and I went, hold on, that's for him. Oh, okay.

KEVIN COSTNER: You had to remind him of his own nobility.

MARK HARMON: Case in point.

End of FastScripts….

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