06/01/2007 05:16 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Are You Alyssa Milano's Ultimate Fan?

I'd like to tell you about a very special opportunity. Major League Baseball is sponsoring an "ultimate fan sweepstakes" in which the winner will receive ... the chance to meet Alyssa Milano at an L.A. Dodgers game!

For those of us who grew up dreaming of a) becoming a professional baseball player and b) marrying Alyssa Milano, winning this contest would have to go down as the ultimate confirmation of our complete failure in life

Alyssa's Handler: Alyssa, I'd like you to meet the ultimate fan who won our contest. Say hi to Matt!

Mark: Um, actually, my name ...

Alyssa: Hi, Matt! Congratulations, it's really awesome to meet you.

Alyssa's Handler: Alyssa, we've really got to get going.

Alyssa: I gotta run, Matt, but enjoy the game -- and go Dodgers!

Alyssa departs.

Mark (calling after her): It's the eighth inning and they're losing 15-1.

So many things would go unsaid. "Alyssa, I very much enjoyed that phase of your career when you were always naked." "Alyssa, I'm a huge of fan of yours and of other celebrities." "Alyssa, I'm glad we met, but I can't shake the feeling I won the contest unfairly given that people from Rhode Island weren't eligible."

Can someone explain the appeal of "and you can get to meet so and so" contests? Is it the chance, however slim, that you will instantly hit it off with the celebrity, ditch the handler and head off for a wild weekend at the Chateau Marmont?

When I first started in journalism, I held out hope that one of the celebrities I interviewed would want to be my friend. Wow, that's embarrassing to write.

Wanting your subject to like you is the cardinal sin of interviewing, next to hitting them. The most I had to show for my desire, anyway, was Al Franken's home phone number in my cell. It's a good thing I never drunk-dialed him; that might have even been more humiliating than winning a contest to meet Alyssa Milano.

The Major League Baseball contest actually includes two tickets to two Dodgers games and three nights in a Los Angeles hotel room (without Alyssa Milano). Not a bad prize, so why ruin it with a two-minute meet-and-greet that can only end with you saying to yourself, "Well, I kind of wish that hadn't happened."

Even worse, though, you could win the contest and be stood up by Alyssa. According to the contest's fine print, the winner gets "the opportunity, subject to availability, to meet Alyssa Milano." Major League Baseball can make anything sound like a product. "Sorry, we're all out of Alyssa Milanos."

At this point, in the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that Alyssa Milano and I share a past. During college, I once was at a Barnes & Noble looking intently at a magazine spread of Alyssa Milano topless. That's when the woman of my dreams, a classmate I was more smitten with than anyone since the cancellation of "Who's the Boss?," suddenly appeared. "Hi, Mark. What'cha looking at?" "Oh, not much. Just some soft-core porn!"

Actually, I tried to play the moment off by pretending to be an ironic devotee of 1980s pop culture and that any interest I might take in Alyssa Milano's breasts was purely for comic effect. "Can you believe the girl from 'Who's the Boss?' posed naked?!"

Unfortunately, this woman had never watched the show as a kid. Fortunately, we still wound up getting married. Even more fortunate, when I was 7 or 8, my sister won a contest in which she received a year's supply of grape Bubble Yum, which she split with me. Now, that was a contest worth winning.

Tribune Media Services