Bill Self was allowed to choose his own jersey number for the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, set for Sunday, July 8, at Kauffman Stadium.
“I have a unique number, as a matter of fact,” Self, Kansas University’s basketball coach said Tuesday in Allen Fieldhouse. “I didn’t know what number to pick. I figured (George, No. 5) Brett would be playing and some other guys would be playing, so I went with my own, unique number. I’m ‘08’ — I thought that was a good number to pick,” Self added, “08” ostensibly referring to the year KU won the national basketball title.
Self, who was a good softball player back in the day, will be joined by Royals greats Brett, Bo Jackson and Mike Sweeney plus Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, Rickey Henderson, Ozzie Smith, Dave Winfield, Joe Carter and Mike Piazza.
Others in the game: Emmy Award winner Eric Stonestreet, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, “Glee” actor Chord Overstreet, “American Idol” contestants Haley Reinhart and David Cook, “Desperate Housewives” actor James Denton, soccer’s Carlos Bocanegra, comedian Horatio Sanz, country singer David Nail, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, “Extreme Makeover” carpenter Paul Dimeo and USA Softball’s Jennie Finch.
“I think I’m going to have to go on a diet just to get in the pants size I gave them,” Self said.
“Going way back ... I probably haven’t swung a baseball bat since 1993. It hasn’t been quite 20 years. We had a big-time team back in Stillwater,” added Oklahoma State graduate Self. “Seven, eight years after (graduation) we pretty much ran that city league down there. I’ve not had a chance to play since then. I’m going to go to the cages a little bit and make sure I can hit a slow-pitch softball.
“I still feel I’ll be able to do something in that celebrity all-star game which I have no idea why I’m in it. I could get out on my front foot a little bit, and get a little excited, and maybe swing and miss, too. I’m definitely going to take a little B.P. (batting practice).”
A big baseball fan, Self likes the hoopla surrounding the All-Star game.
“It should be a lot of fun. I always watch those, not in its entirety,” Self said of the softball game. “To be honest, I didn’t recognize everybody. I recognized all of the athletes. You’ve got Sweeney, Brett and Jackson from the Royals, guys like Ernie Banks, Piazza, I’ll be a fish out of water.”
The Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game will be played after the 4 p.m., SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, featuring some of MLB’s best young prospects.
The softball game will be televised by ESPN at approximately 9:30 p.m. immediately following the State Farm Home Run Derby which begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 9. The game will also be available on ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV and via the WatchESPN app.
For more information, go to www.allstargame.com.