Costner gets exhibition cuts

Scripps-Howard News Service
Published Tuesday, April 02, 2002

He arrived on a helicopter that landed in center field. In the exhibition game that followed, he played shortstop for the Class A San Bernardino Stampede against the parent Seattle Mariners. Then, of course, he got to take a turn on the mound.

When it comes to baseball, there's no stopping Kevin Costner.

The actor went 0-for-3 with a run scored as the Mariners defeated the Stamps 12-4 on Thursday as 6,240 fans showed up to see the first big-league team to play in San Bernardino in 39 years.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Costner came on in relief.

Two of his warmup pitches sailed to the backstop. The next batter, Alex Arias, threw his batting helmet and bat down in mock disgust and walked back toward the dugout.

Out came Seattle manager Lou Piniella to pinch hit (righthanded, in the spirit of the moment). Costner's first pitch almost hit Piniella. The second pitch was a strike, but Piniella walked on five pitches.

"I had a strike to Piniella, but (the umpire) didn't call it," Costner told the San Bernardino Sun. "That put me in the hole." Jake Weber doubled, with Piniella chugging to third, before Costner retired the next batter on a grounder.

The two teams decided not to play the bottom of the ninth. It would have felt like a sequel to "Waterworld."

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