GOOD MORNING: The flag, fireworks, frankfurters and — baseball. “Major League Baseball’s Memorable Moments” is set to air “live” on Fox 30 minutes before the All-Star Game, which starts at 5 p.m. PDT Tuesday from the new Miller Park in Milwaukee. MasterCard sponsors and Don Mischer, who gave us the spectacular Winter Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, is exec producing the show, which will present 30 of the most memorable moments in baseball — from 1905 to 2001. Among ’em, of course, Lou Gehrig’s tearful farewell, Jackie Robinson’s arrival in the majors (the Dodgers), the 1920 sale of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the Yankees and the birth of that dynasty. Also appearances by Willie Mays, Cal Ripken, Barry Bonds. The new ballpark’s field will be christened by 500 small-fry baseball teams in formations. Mischer, who also produced the Super Bowl half-time extravaganza in 1993 that starred Michael Jackson, reminds, “Baseball is part of America. The ballpark makes you feel warm and comfortable. I remember after 9-11 (when games temporarily ceased) when I returned to the stadium, I once again felt America had survived” … Baseball has always also been a part of my life, having grown up in the Bronx where Gehrig was my idol, and later, Joe DiMaggio was a friend. I recall being at a Dodgers-Yankees World Series game in 1963 with my children, Mandy and Evan, when DiMaggio walked by. He saw us all wearing Dodgers caps. “It’s come to that!” he laughed … I guess like all kids I dreamed of being a ball player. And I was — on the celeb team at Gilmore Field in the old days when the Hollywood stars played against the Hollywood Stars. And what a thrill it was to put on a Dodgers uniform and run out into center field to later play with the celeb team (captained by Jerry Lewis) playing against the pros … I also covered baseball only once. It was Oct. 3, 1959, when the Dodgers made it to the World Series and were playing the Chicago White Sox. Dodger Stadium was not yet built and the Dodgers’ home field for the Series was the Coliseum. My friend Joe Hyams was covering Hollywood for the N.Y. Herald-Tribune and was asked to help ’em cover the Series. He admittedly knew next to nothing about baseball and asked if I would help him. Cover the World Series! You know I was there. “We had fun!” Hyams recalled with me … Ray Liotta (“Field of Dreams’) will narrate Tuesday’s All-Star special and Mark Watters, music director of the Winter Olympics, is writing an original score. Charlie Haykel is producer; Bryan Brown’s the writer. During the second half of this baseball season, fans will be asked to vote for their top 10 memorable baseball moments, and these will make up a second show, airing before the fourth game of the World Series.
ON THE UNIVERSAL LOT TUESDAY, a longtime employee told me, “There’s a feeling of confidence. We’ve got Barry Diller, our management is in place and business is good.” And as an aside, he added, “Our sign vendor is happy” … It was interesting to have noted, when Barry Diller came aboard at Universal, he immediately proceeded to have lunch meetings with Lew Wasserman. Who better to learn from about permanence in the biz? … Tom Cruise celebrates his 40th birthday today in Florida with his parents and children. Penelope Cruz wasn’t expected until the weekend, as she’s shooting “Masked & Anonymous” with Bob Dylan and Jessica Lange … Some N.Y. Times staffers received e-mails telling them not to plan on taking Friday off. The L.A. Times is eliminating most of the freelancers in the SoCal Living section. Among those departing is Pat Diroll, who has been writing the Social Circuits column weekly since 1991 … Internet transmission of the Post’s Liz Smith column was sent Tuesday under the byline of Cindy Adams, who is on vacation.
THE USO, WAYNE NEWTON, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Bo Derek, Lewis Dix, Meredith Edwards, Shauntay Hinton and Dan Moschetti are entertaining four stations in Korea this week. It’s the 45th USO tour in 23 years for the Cheerleaders … Ken Annakin is awarded a doctorate by Hull U. in England July 19. Annakin was just awarded an OBE by the queen “for services to the film industry” … Shirley Jones is shooting two films on alternate days in L.A. and Palm Springs: “Bloodhead,” a horror film in which she plays a snorting, tobacco-spitting ghost, and “Bathroom Boy,” where she’s an alcoholic. And she’s currently on screen in “Ping,” a comedy in which she’s a half-blind senior who plays a sax and drives a Harley, and in “Manna From Heaven,” in which she’s a social worker by day and a scam artist by night. And she hadn’t done a film since 1983’s “Tank” … Michael Jeter segues from the Steven Spielberg-produced “Taken” miniseries to Kevin Costner’s “Open Range” … Cindy Garvey and Robert Lorsch are engaged to wed — by year’s end … What friends are for: Loni Anderson, Jim J. Bullock, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Dan Lauria, Robert Mandan, Paul Mazursky, Brooke Shields, Jean Stapleton and Renee Taylor have recorded voiceovers to be heard in “Three Grooms and a Bride,” the Gary Goldstein comedy at the Coast Playhouse, directed by Randy Brenner … The first Merv Griffin/Beverly Hills Country Club Celebrity Tennis Tourney will be held Sept. 21 at the BevHills Country Club, where Merv’s uncle Elmer, a tennis pro, was a founder 75 years ago along with fellow members Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and Oscar Hammerstein.