Jason Taylor didn’t make his high school baseball team in Pittsburgh and says he didn’t play Little League.
So, the soon-to-be Hall of Famer from the Dolphins said he was a little nervous heading into Sunday night’s All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Marlins Park.
Well, not all that nervous.
“In the worst case,” Taylor said, “I’ll just hit someone and do a sack dance.”
Taylor, who will be enshrined in Canton next month, tried wrapping up baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson after he led off the fun evening with a home run off softball ace Jennie Finch (pitching underhand to make things fair).
That shot set off the Marlins’ home run sculpture in center for the first of many times during the slowpitch exhibition.
Henderson and Taylor weren’t the only Hall of Famers on the field as former Marlins catcher Pudge Rodriguez (wearing Texas gear) goes into Cooperstown later this month along with former Marlins outfielder Tim Raines — who will be enshrined representing the Montreal Expos.
Raines helped make up a localized National League team made up of former Marlins such as Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, Benito Santiago and Andre Dawson as well as Taylor.
In the second, with Raines at the plate, AL catcher Rodriguez jumped up so the two Class of 2017 Hall of Famers could get a picture. Raines then hit a homer off the temporary fencing in the Marlins Park outfield. Taylor, it should be noted, flew out to ‘deep’ center in his initial plate appearance.
One of the few recognizable celebrity names was a big one as Jamie Foxx came to Miami after making his debut in this game last year in San Diego. Before the game, Foxx joked he didn’t handle the success of last year’s game all that well.
“I was rookie of the year,” he said before the game. “Now it’s my sophomore year. I’ve done a lot of bad things. I came to Miami to clean my act up.”
Sunday’s softball game will be broadcast on ESPN on Monday night following the Home Run Derby (sorry for the spoilers).
Also — spoiler alert! — the National League beat the AL 28-22 in the highest-scoring celebrity softball game, well, ever.
Flo Rida was the musical star of Sunday’s events at the ballpark, and there’s more coming Monday and Tuesday.
Before the Home Run Derby, rapper Pitbull will perform two of his songs. Miami’s DJ Irie will play during the Derby.
On Tuesday, Bebe Rexha sings the national anthem; Jocelyn Alice will sing the Canadian anthem.
▪ The MLB All-Star red carpet parade is set for Tuesday afternoon through downtown Miami. The All-Stars in town for Tuesday night’s game will be paraded up Biscayne Boulevard starting from just north of Chopin Plaza at 12:30 p.m.
Players and the two managers will be hauled through town in red, white or blue Chevy pickup trucks.
Grand Marshals Tony Perez and Jeff Conine will be in a Corvette.
2017 MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Park
▪ Monday — Ballpark gates open: 5 p.m.; National League batting practice: 5:15; American League BP: 6:15; Home Run Derby extra BP: 7:10; Home Run Derby: 8 (ESPN, 790-AM).
▪ Tuesday — All-Star Red Carpet and Parade, downtown Miami: 12:30 p.m.; Ballpark gates open: 4:30; NL batting practice: 4:40; AL batting practice: 6:05; 88th annual MLB All-Star Game: 7:30 (WSVN-7, 790-AM).