Tom Hanks, A Great American
Ever since Bosom Buddies, I have been a Tom Hanks fan. (I haven't seen an episode of the sitcom since 1982, and I can't imagine it would still stand up, but when you are 10 years old, it was good stuff.) Since then, he has become a megastar in some films I really liked (Philadelphia, Apollo 13) and some not so much (Forrest Gump being exhibit A). (He also appeared on the Love Boat even before Bosom Buddies and had a great recurring role on Family Ties as Mrs. Keaton's younger and very troubled brother.) I have not seen his latest opus, and I don't think I'm missing a whole lot. Regardless, he is a very talented actor, who rarely makes a very bad decision regarding his career.
He also just turned 50, and what is he doing to celebrate, you ask? Why doing a tour of baseball stadiums across the U.S. As ESPN.com explains, he has already visited Camden Yards in Baltimore, PNC Park in Pittsburgh (a fantastic ballpark--if you are a baseball fan, you really must visit it), and, last night, he, Ron Howard, and Dennis Miller (Dennis Miller?) were at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati (one of the few I have yet to visit). There are still more parks Hanks plans to hit on this trip although he won't say where he is showing up next.
He has strong baseball roots--as a kid he sold peanuts and soda at the ballpark then known as the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. I attended my first ball game there in 1975, but Hanks had probably already moved on to bigger things so I can't claim he sold me my first bag of peanuts (or perhaps I could!). As someone who has visited 29 ballparks, with Mrs. Bartender up to 20 and Isaac, Jr., already at 4 at less than 3 months of age, all I can say is, "Tom, I hope to see you at the game."
Update: Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are currently enjoying this afternoon's White Sox-Tigers game at Comerica. If they can hold off, I will be at the Jake in Cleveland next Saturday, but I have a feeling they will be back in CA by then.