Big League Stew - MLB

Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench won their last World Series 33 years ago, but their ability to attract old Reds fans hasn't faded a bit — not even when that fan is George Clooney.

It's an accepted and foolproof fact of life. If you want to get to the heart of a man, use the baseball players he remembers most from his youth. And that's exactly what Ellen DeGeneres did in finally realizing her months-long quest of getting Clooney — who owns an office next to her studio — as a guest on her talk show. The quartet taped its appearance on Thursday night and it'll air on Monday, Jan. 19, perhaps marking the first time I or any baseball fans like me will ever watch Ellen on purpose.

From Access Hollywood:

Ellen has employed every trick in the book in an attempt to get George as a guest. In addition to the marching band, Ellen sent six shirtless Chippendale dancers to the actor's office last month — based on the advice of George's pal, Brad Pitt — along with decorating his bungalow for Halloween.

"People do come up to me all the time and say, 'What's wrong with you man? Why don't you go on Ellen's show?'" George admitted. [But], I haven't been in town, which I haven't been in town for a long time."

Using Bench and Morgan to lure Clooney into the guest's chair was smarter than you may initially think. Clooney grew up in Cincinnati, where his father Nick was a journalist. According to his Yahoo! Movies biography, he also unsuccessfully tried out for the Reds in 1977, when he was only 16 years old. The disappointment, of course, turned into an A-list movie career and making more money than either Bench or Morgan could conceive.

Still, we all have our boyhood idols and I'll say that the first host to include me in a game of running bases with Ron Kittle and Leon Durham will be welcome to have me on any talk show he or she wishes. 

For another shot of George, Ellen, Johnny and Joe, visit Walkoff Walk (and check out the weird writing on Bench's stomach). For more movie-inspired BLS fun, check out Spike Lee's furry new Yankees hat that he's sporting in Utah these days.

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