Even with the New York Yankees in town for a day-night doubleheader, a pair of hip-hop superstars dominated most of the attention at Detroit's Comerica Park on Wednesday.
Jay-Z and Eminem visited both clubhouses and stopped by three TV network booths, including ESPN's, to shake hands and to promote a pair of concerts they plan to headline at Yankee Stadium and Comerica this September.
Representing their respective cities and teams, Jay-Z rocked his Joba-brimmed Yankees cap (natch) while Eminem wore a slick Tigers track jacket with the classic olde English "D" logo on the front.
But there was no question who the bigger and better-informed baseball fan was.
Whereas Jay-Z shared stories about singing "Empire State of Mind" with Alicia Keys at the World Series, and he dropped some knowledge of Austin Jackson(notes), cohort Marshall Mathers had trouble articulating a coherent response to Rick Sutcliffe's fairly straightforward question.
Sutcliffe: "We understand you were here on opening day? Is that true?"
What happened next was like in WWII movies when the G.I.s suspected another soldier of being a German spy and they ask him who Babe Ruth played for, and the soldier gets all sweaty and can't formulate an answer. Check out the video and transcription below
MM: "Yeah, I came to opening day. Honestly, I had stepped away from baseball for years and I'm just trying to get back into it now and trying to, like, you know, get reacquainted with who's who and everything like that. But, I just started, like, you know, I've been, like, my whole career, like, just everything's been so busy, you know?"
Sutcliffe: "Oh, yeah."
MM: "But when I get, like, a chance to catch up sports, like, I always do. But it's like baseball, I just found myself recently getting back into it and, you know, trying to play catch up and everything."
You OK, Rabbit? You're not going to throw up, are you? You'd have thought Sutcliffe asked him to recite the '84 Tigers lineup at pistol point. Granted, Slim Shady just recently stepped back into the public eye after undergoing prescription drug rehab, but he's going to need rapper's spring training if he's set on performing in a stadium.
Jay-Z (who I want to have a beer with, he's so cool) tried to save the moment by interjecting: "I was trying to give him a crash course about the center fielder that y'all stole from us."
Dropping an Austin Jackson reference without even saying Austin Jackson. The zenith of cool.
- Rick Sutcliffe
- Austin Jackson