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White, Deschanel among Game 3 stars in Detroit

White, Deschanel among Game 3 stars in Detroit

White, Deschanel among Game 3 stars in Detroit
DETROIT -- Detroit native Jack White slipped onto the field at Comerica Park with relative anonymity on Saturday, but it didn't take long before reporters noticed the slender musician standing there, taking in the sights and sounds of Tigers batting practice.

"I thought I was just going to watch a few balls get hit," White joked.

Wearing a stylish hat and black coat, White -- a musician, singer, songwriter and guitarist, who is best known as part of the band The White Stripes -- explained that while he doesn't have a long history of Tigers fandom, he does feel a significant allegiance to his hometown team.

A few of White's relatives worked at old Tiger Stadium years ago, in concessions and as part of the grounds crew. Because he was knee-deep in touring by the time Comerica Park opened in April 2000, he's only been to one game there. White jumped at the opportunity to check it out close up -- and, of course, it didn't hurt that his tour of the place arrived a couple of hours before Game 3 of the World Series.

World Series

Asked if he'd be interested in singing the anthem before one of these games, White smiled and shook his head no.

"I'm not a singer," he said. "I'm a vocalist. There's a difference."

Batting practice is a great place to people watch, and more specifically, stargaze. Look beyond the sea of reporters, camera operators and baseball officials, and you'll usually spot a small sampling of all facets of the entertainment industry -- singers, actors and former athletes.

It's also not unusual for stars of past teams currently playing in the Series milling about, as was the case on Saturday when former Tiger Magglio Ordonez made an appearance.

Ordonez, who played for the Tigers from 2005-11 and famously hit the pennant-clinching walk-off home run that sent Detroit to the World Series in 2006, spent time before the game in manager Jim Leyland's office and was asked by his old skipper, "Can you hit?"

Leyland was kidding of course, Ordonez pointed out. And Ordonez expressed confidence that the Tigers' bats, a relative non-factor in Games 1 and 2, will come around.

"They can hit," Ordonez said. "I feel very positive. It's not going to be easy -- they're facing a team that's really hot."

The anthem was performed by actress Zooey Deschanel, star of the FOX comedy "New Girl." Escorted by about a dozen people, including her father, director Caleb Deschanel, and her mother, actress Mary Jo Deschanel, Zooey characterized the anthem as "sort of surreal."

"It's almost less nerve-wracking, because everyone looks like a tiny dot," she said. "You just feel like you're performing for a bunch of famous athletes, because those are the only people you can see."

Deschanel's television show often includes cameos from real-life athletes, and while they've had football and basketball players on, they've never had a baseball player. Deschanel hopes to change that soon.

"I definitely think we need a baseball player," she said. "It's my favorite sport."

Her first choice? Eccentric Giants pitcher Brian Wilson.

"He's really funny," Deschanel said.

Saturday's pregame ceremony also included the presentation of the Hank Aaron Award to the winners from each league. This year, the winners are members of each World Series team: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera and Giants catcher Buster Posey.

Major League Baseball also recognized one of the grand-prize winners of the 2012 Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life essay contest, as well as players from the three 2012 RBI World Series championship teams (Dominican Republic RBI, junior baseball; Jackie Robinson RBI, senior baseball; and Dominican Republic RBI, softball).

In April of this year, Peter Hanhan, a ninth-grade student from Valrico, Fla., was selected as a grand-prize winner of the Breaking Barriers essay contest. Hanhan, whose essay recounts the courage it required to cope with being forcefully uprooted from his home in the West Bank, was joined by Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson and MLB educational programming consultant.

The first ball delivery came from Boys & Girls Clubs 2012-2013 National Youth of the Year Trei Dudley, a freshman at the University of Arkansas who has been dedicated to improving her community. Through her local Boys & Girls Club, Dudley has served as a positive example for younger club members by volunteering at area soup kitchens and homeless shelters. She plans to use her Youth of the Year platform to empower other youth from similar backgrounds.

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Tigers legend and Hall of Famer Al Kaline, a member of the 1968 World Series championship Tigers. Staff Sgt. Amy Gould, who is a United States Army vocalist of the 126 Army Band, was scheduled to perform "God Bless America" in the seventh inning.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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