On a Sunday afternoon in Miami special-ordered by the chamber of commerce, with sun and blue skies pouring through the sealed windows of a climate-controlled Marlins Park brimming with Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game festivities, Dina Schwartz stood outside in the 90-degree heat flicking beads of sweat from her brow.
The Palm Beach Gardens resident held a photograph of Hall of Famer Tim Raines, and at her feet was a bag containing a Rickey Henderson Oakland A’s jersey, both freshly autographed.
Schwartz is a baseball fan, but her favorite player is her son, 14-year-old Andrew Schwartz, who was waiting next to her outside a tent filled with MLB legends and celebrities getting ready for Sunday’s All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game.
The afternoon was part of a four-day, mother-son Miami staycation she planned so Andrew could get autographs from his heroes. He got his No. 1 player, Henderson, who came over, signed the jersey and took a selfie for Andrew’s Instagram account. The moment made the time, the heat and the expense well worth it, Schwartz said.
“I love watching him have fun. It’s the best,” Schwartz said. “It’s nice that they have a passion for this, instead of other things.”
Nearby, 12-year-old Sofia Romanach, of Miami, was perched on the shoulders of her father, Marco, snapping pictures of actor Jamie Foxx taking batting practice. Still in her sights was actor Miles Teller.
“He’s so funny. And he’s so cute,” Sofia said, adding a few u’s to the word.
From the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game to the celebrity softball game, Sunday at Marlins Park was a day of wholesome fun for the kids, both those in the stands and those in uniform for the softball game, which brought together MLB legends and a random assortment of pop-culture and sports stars, including Oscar winner Foxx, “Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay, singer Christina Milian, hot dog-eating champion Joey Chestnut and former Miami Dolphins great Jason Taylor.
“I got a picture with Rickey [Henderson] in the locker room,” Taylor said. “We’re all fans of other sports and little kids in our own way.”
The South Florida resident called the All-Star Game and five days of other festivities a game-changer for the city and local baseball fans.
“This is an amazing stadium behind us. The fans deserve this. It’s been a run of tough times for Marlins fans, baseball fans down here,” he said. “Hopefully this weekend they fill this place up, make traffic a headache, fill the seats and help MLB put on a good show.”
The All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game is scheduled to be televised by ESPN immediately following the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday.
The charismatic Foxx, star of the hit movie “Baby Driver” and the new Fox TV game show “Beat Shazam,” worked the crowd, signed autographs and promised a big game during batting practice.
“I was an athlete the minute I came out of the womb,” he told reporters.
For the record, the local stars put on quite a show in a high-scoring game won by the National League squad 28-22.
Miami native and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson hit a monster home run over the regulation baseball fence in left, and Marlins World Series hero Livan Hernandez one-hopped the same fence with his home run.
Actor William Levy, a Miami resident known as the Cuban Brad Pitt, hit three handsome home runs over the softball fence and made a theatrical catch in centerfield. Former Marlin catchers Benito Santiago and Pudge Rodriguez hit impressive home runs, and pitcher Al Leiter also went deep.
Not everyone was ready to excel. Actor Michael Cudlitz of HBO’s “Band of Brothers” admitted to a late night before the game, hitting a couple of nightspots he declined to reveal.
“Yeah, the coach [Foxx] gave us a curfew. 3:30. This afternoon,” Cudlitz said, grinning.
On his first trip to Miami, Chestnut managed to find the iconic open-till-5-a.m. locals’ dive Mac's Club Deuce.
“We closed that out. Yeah, I’m sweating a little bit,” Chestnut said, laughing, outside Marlins Park before the game. “Hot dogs and beer sounds really good right now.”