New York's Blige entertains with anthemGame 6 marks Grammy-winning star's first baseball contest
By Brittany Ghiroli / Special to MLB.com
11/04/09 8:26 PM ESTNEW YORK -- Mary J. Blige is a nine-time Grammy Award winner with movies, endorsements and an active philanthropy career, but the New York native still gets nervous under the bright lights of her hometown.
"I have never been to a baseball game," Blige confessed several hours before her scheduled performance of the national anthem prior to Game 6 of the World Series at the new Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
"I have never done it before, so I'm kind of nervous," said the star, sporting a new Yankees jersey underneath a World Series jacket, of performing at a Major League Game. "But I'm mostly excited because this is my hometown. I was born in Fordham Hospital [New York] in the Bronx, so I'm just happy that [the Yankees] picked me to do this."
So was the sellout crowd, the majority of which was on its feet following Blige's charged rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." She is set to release her ninth album -- titled "Stronger" -- and is also featured on the movie soundtrack "Precious" for her single "I Can See Color."
While Blige's presence certainly brought some star power, there were several other notable attendants in the highly anticipated Phillies-Yankees showdown.
Actor Jeremy Piven, who is best known for his role in the HBO series "Entourage," was joined on the field by Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher during the Phillies' batting practice. While Urlacher made it no secret which team he was pulling for, with a Yankees baseball cap, Piven was a little more torn. As a long-suffering Cubs fan, the actor was allowed on the field courtesy of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., but Piven told MLB Network he was still rooting for New York.
It was no secret who ceremonial first-pitch honoree Scott Brosius wanted to win. The 1998 World Series MVP and former Yankee ran out to the mound sporting a Yankees jacket and fired a strike to catcher Jose Molina to send the crowd into frenzy.
Broadway actress and singer Kelli O'Hara was slated to sing "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch of what could be the final game played during the inaugural season at the new Yankee Stadium.
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.