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Now batting Billy Crystal? Are you kidding me?

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By The Staff

It must really be nice to be Billy Crystal. I wouldn't know, but based on the fact that he got to kiss Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and hung out with Danny DeVito in "Throw Momma From The Train," I'm guessing things are not too bad for the 60-year-old Crystal.

With that said, can someone please explain to me something that has bothered me for a few weeks and came back up during Williamstown's season opening baseball game at Walton-Verona Monday night—what in the world was Crystal doing in a New York Yankees uniform?

Not only did he get to dress, but Crystal, who really hasn't been that funny in a long time, suited up for the Yankees in a spring training game.

Now you can say that was a nice gesture by the Yankees, and yes, Crystal did strike out but it never should have happened.

And before we go any further, let me say that I would have been completely against Ben Affleck suiting up for my beloved Boston Red Sox, and here's why—it makes a mockery of the game.

Yes, I know the San Diego Padres let Garth Brooks suit up and take a few swings with a bat, and that was a mockery of the game.

You have got guys out there trying to earn a roster spot with professional teams, guys trying to earn a paycheck and instead of impressing scouts and managers, they have to worry about some bozo getting a birthday present.

Sure, it's a feel good story, and I really did enjoy Crystal's comment about him being worried he "might test positive for Maalox," but come on.

There were plenty of other ways for the Yankees to show their gratitude to Crystal and give him a birthday present other than signing him for a one-day contract and putting him out there on the field.

They could've let Crystal, who wore a New York METS hat in those City Slicker movies, throw out the ceremonial first pitch, sing the national anthem, serve as an extra on ESPN's "The Bronx is Burning," or let him attend their fantasy camp, which begins Nov. 17.

But no, the proclaimed "greatest dynasty," had to make a mockery of the sport and what professional players go through by giving Crystal a contract, a real locker and an at-bat in a real game.

And trust me, I know what you are saying, "But Paul, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter weren't mad."

Of course they weren't—publicly. Did you really expect the two franchise players, the faces of New York, to admit that the move was silly and offensive? If you believe that, I know of some oceanfront property in Arizona you may be interested in.

Seriously folks, what is next?

Jerry Seinfeld playing behind the plate for the New York Mets? Jack Nicholson serving up passes to Kobe Bryant in a Los Angeles Lakers game? Hillary Clinton suiting up for the Cubs? Will Adam Sandler be pitching for the Yankees when they take on the Red Sox next month? Can't you just see Affleck taking a pitch in game seven of the World Series for the Red Sox? Wouldn't it be neat to see Nick Lashay compete against Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys next year with Lashay wearing the orange and black of the Cincinnati Bengals?

The answer should be simple—NO!

I remember watching Tom Hanks once say "There's no crying in baseball."

The same should apply for actors robbing would-be professionals of their chance to shine, regardless of who it is.

(Paul Gable is the sports editor for The Grant County News. He can be reached by calling 824-3343 or by e-mail at gcnsports@fuse.net.)