Larry King was the pitcher. Larry threw out the first pitch for the Chicago Cubs big game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the sold out crowd before Casey King pitched a fast ball as the bleachers shouted "LAR-RY LAR-RY!"
The day started with a hefty Cubbies group hug on the turf -- real green grass sod on the old time Wrigley Field -- owned forever by the chewing gum billionaire Wrigleys until they had to sell it to the Chicago Tribune to pay estate taxes, acquired by real estate mogul Sam Zell -- who is Sugar's neighbor -- and then to the billionaire Ricketts family, with whom Larry, Sugar, John Cusack, Candace, and Tom Ricketts discussed the Cubs general manager being fired that day.
See, guys on a losing streak do get fired...
Larry's claque followed him back to the field to sign official bats and balls for the kids. Larry didn't say no to a single kid. And momentarily pondered the Cubs managerial position.
As the Cubs began to REALLY win, old time King pal Tony La Russa, manager of the Cardinals, began angling for a Larry group hug, but he was prevented by a face masked catcher.
So Larry hiked up his pants, pulled down his Cubs cap to cut some of the glorious summer day sun and hiked up the five flights of stairs in his CUBS KING # 2 shirt. His claque, panting as they climbed behind him, wondered who was #1.
Those baseball guys are really superstitious and hug or scratch themselves a lot. Larry just shrugged his famous shoulders and called the game from the announcer's booth for ESPN. Comcast, the Baseball Channel and WGN and other guy stations.
Larry King was a singer. Just as Larry King warmed up his right arm for the opening pitch, he tuned up his vocal chords to belt out a Broadway version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" that brought the crowd to its feet.
(Larry corrected me when I said "audience" -- "that's for the opera, Shug -- this is the ball park, the place I like best, number one sitting across a desk interviewing the world.")
Chewing tobacco must be lucky for these handsome young men with their jutting jaws and balletic baseball moves, sliding, stretching, pitching, catching, running: once you get into it, baseball is such a fun -- and graceful game -- you don't even need cheerleaders.
Then on to Sugar's house after a brief stop over at the Park Hyatt where Larry and Martin Sheen did a Hollywood hug and chatted about movies and baseball.
The Chicago air show was on so as we walked into Sugar's, the Air Force Thunderbirds were jetting by the high-rise windows, almost in a tipped-wing salute to Larry.
Pulitzer Prize-winners, Democrats and Republicans and network owners were all pitching Larry.
Right now, he likes his CNN specials, but as the world leaders keep calling -- some of these prime ministers and presidents have been listening to Larry's Brooklyn baritone for 30 years and the offers keep flowing in -- who knows?
PS: Vladimir Putin doesn't like cell phones so if you give Larry King a ball park/book party (Truth Be Told sold over a 1,000 copies that day) don't be surprised to hear that other rusky voice on your land line.
Now that's a show, Larry King Live and Putin.
(ALL photos by Mila Samokhina.)