The thought of being seen by 50 million of your countrymen does strange things to people.
Baseball's summer exhibition - the 50th All-Star Game - turned into an amusing festival of exhibitionism Tuesday night as everybody from a stripper to a former president was here mugging for the tube.
Seldom has the field been so cluttered with folks screaming, "Look at me!"
Morganna, the "Kissing Bandit," galumphed to home plate.
The 5-foot-4 San Diego Chicken, freed from the litigation that bound him to one radio station, slid into third base. He had recovered from the indignity on Sunday of being trussed in a chicken coop (nee laundry hamper) by two Baltimore Orioles, who wheeled him off the premises.
While Gerald Ford attended his third All-Star Game since leaving office, Danny Kaye, the aging imp, swayed his way to the mound for a 40-foot first pitch.
When it wasn't Seattle's native globehopper, Rock'n Rollen (the omnipresent fan with the multicolored wig), making an appearance, it was an inebriated John Doe from the stands playing tag with the cops during the ninth inning.
Perhaps the perfect example of the kind of night it was, was the matter of the New York Yankee uniforms: Reggie Jackson forgot his, but Barry Bremen (the Great Impostor) didn't.
In pregame warmups, Jackson wore a Seattle Mariner uniform because he left his own in Oakland. A private plane flew the No. 44 in by game time.
Bremen, the guy who crashed the NBA All-Star Game and also played a practice round at the U.S. Open, was in full pinstripe regalia.
Wearing a Yankee No. 13, tailor-made for him, Bremen took infield practice with the American League and even got into the official AL team picture for a few camera snaps until he was spotted and hauled away.
In fact, "criminal trespass," the paddy-wagon terminology for what most of these folks were doing, was the undercurrent of this 7-6 National League victory.
Certainly, the AL can prosecute several of its players for criminal trespass against the best interests of the league. $&(WORD ILLEGIBLE
The list of candidates is long.
Reliever Jim Kern, who walked three men (one intentionally) and committed a balk in the ninth inning of a 6-6 game, was culpable.
Ron Guidry, who walked in the winning run on five pitches to New York Met Lee Mazzilli, must stand in the dock. "Walking a man in that situation is as low as you can get," said the disconsolate Guidry.
But AL Manager Bob Lemon had to share the blame for Guidry's demise. He had the Cy Young southpaw warming in four different innings, starting in the second.
Guidry bluntly said afterward that he was tired from a complete-game outing on Sunday and that he left what little stuff he had in the bullpen. Guidry rubbed his shoulder as he spoke, bad news for the Yankees who like to give Louisiana Lightnin" five days rest - not one.
Jim Rice and third-base coach Pat Corrales also have to share a pair of goat's horns - one each. When Rice got a lost-in-the-lights popup double to open the seventh, he should have hugged second base. Basic strategy is don't gamble for third with no outs; it's dumb baseball.
But he obeyed Corrales' frantic "come on" waves and was gunned out by Dave Parker's howitzer arm in right.
In all, Corrales had a bad night of wig-wagging at third. With the bases loaded in the sixth, he held Bruce Bochte at third on a medium fly to Dave Winfield in center. When Winfield had to make a lunging across-the-body catch after a near collision, then made a throw that reached the cutoff man at the mound on two hops, Bochte looked out of place standing on third base.
However, when Corrales sent Brian Downing home from second on a two-out single by Graig Nettles in the eighth with the game knotted, how was he to know that Parker would win himself the MVP award by throwing a strike to the plate?
Actually, the AL's trespasses against itself didn't all make the box score. In that ninth, with two NLers on base and one out, Kern got Craig Reynolds to pop up for the second out. Only Reynolds wasn't out. Time had been called because Guidry had thrown a wild pitch past catcher Jeff Newman in the left field-line bullpen. The ball rolled onto the field as Kern was in midwindup.
Perhaps only the AL could offer up a second chance in such a crucial situation because a bullpen catcher couldn't block a pitch in the dirt.
Reynolds was friendly enough to repeat his popup and give Guidry a chance to repeat his wildness where it could do the most harm.
The late-inning goofiness with the game on the line had the unfortunate tendency to overshadow some rather heroic play earlier.
While NL shortstops Garry Templeton and Dave Concepcion decided they didn't want to play here - Templeton claiming a dislocated ego and Concepcion inventing an injury - at least two bona fide All-Stars showed how much they wanted to win here.
Fred Lynn and George Foster, both nursing groin-muscle pulls that made them hobble like old men in the outfield, insisted on playing because were still hitting well.
Foster doubled home a run in the first, while Lynn crashed a two-run homer in that inning. By the second, both had had to pull themselves from the game after aggravating their problems.
Perhaps it was fitting that this tense game, with five lead changes and more excitement than many of the noncontests of the last decade combined, should have Parker as its MVP.
Some will argue that Mazzilli, with his game-tying, opposite-field Kingdome homer into the first bleacher row in the left field corner in the eighth, and his game-winning walk in the ninth, should have been MVP.
Maybe so, although he was a discount hero, at best. But Parker was a more symbolic pick since he epitomizes the reason for eight NL wins in a row and 16 of 17 since 1962.
While talent in the two leagues - overall - is balanced, the best of the best are still in the NL.
At least, the AL can hold out hope for 1980 in Los Angeles. History tells us that the AL will win an All-Star Game every ninth year.