Pirates indifferent to Yankees' Crystal

Pirates indifferent to Yankees' Crystal

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Nate McLouth grinned when asked about playing against Billy Crystal.

"It will be interesting, I guess," said McLouth. "I'm sure he's played baseball before."

But never against the Pirates, or professionally for that matter.

Crystal will play against Pittsburgh on Thursday in Tampa after the Yankees signed the comedian/actor to a one-day Minor League contract. Commissioner Bud Selig approved the Yankees' extension of a contract to Crystal.

"What is he, 60 years old?" the Pirates center fielder said. "I know he loves baseball so I'm sure it will be a thrill for him."

Crystal turns 60 on Friday, which prompted one clubhouse wag to say it will be like playing against Julio Franco.

Crystal has starred in several movies such as "When Harry Met Sally," "City Slickers" and "Analyze This."

McLouth is pretty sure he hasn't watched any of Crystal's films.

All kidding aside, for the Pirates say Crystal's playing is no big deal.

"I think it will be fun," Pirates left fielder Jason Bay said. "Every few years guys come out and do something like this. I don't think there's anything wrong with it."

Over the last decade country music star Garth Brooks has made Spring Training appearances for the Padres, Mets and Royals to raise money for charity.

"That's kind of the Spring Training atmosphere," Bay said. "Guys are a little more relaxed [and] just trying to get their work in. I think it will be neat to be out there with him."

Crystal directed and produced the film "61*," which chronicled the historic 1961 seasons of Yankees greats Roger Maris and Mantle, as they sought to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record. The film garnered 12 Emmy nominations, including nods for "Best Director" and "Best Made for Television Movie."

Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.