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Alyssa Milano talks Dodgers fandom, sports clothing line, World Series pick

MIAMI — Back in 2007, Alyssa Milano was doing postseason work for TBS, and she was available to do phone interviews to promote her spots. My editor at Sporting News magazine (the dearly departed print edition) asked if anyone was available to handle the interview.

I volunteered, because I volunteered for pretty much anything that gave me a chance to have a byline in the magazine. My editor, though, made me promise to ask her the question “Who’s the boss in baseball right now?” I laughed. And then, I was a bit petrified.

My editor was serious. So, at the end of the phone interview with Milano, I said something along the lines of “I’m really sorry, but my editor is making me ask this question, so here goes …”

Milano handled it like a pro, of course. I think she said Alex Rodriguez.

Anyway, Milano is a lifelong Dodgers fan, and she’s in Miami this week promoting her line of clothing at the All-Star Game Fan Fest. I had the chance to interview her Monday morning, this time in person, and told her manager that story. So, of course he brought up that embarrassing question to her when he introduced me.

She laughed and after a moment, she said, “I think I remember that. Didn’t you apologize before you asked me that question?”

Yep, that was me.

I promised I wouldn’t ask that question again this time, and started the Q&A.

SPORTING NEWS: Bet it’s hard to believe you started your clothing line (Touch by Alyssa Milano) 10 years ago.

ALYSSA MILANO: It is. It’ll be 10 years next year. It’s crazy. It’s the little idea that could. In the beginning there was so much potential and so much room for female fan apparel, but nobody was really tapping into it. They thought it was crazy because there was no pink in the line.

SN: That was intentional, right?

AM: I was making a statement. I did that on purpose. Everything that was available specifically for women was done in pink. I was just so sure that it would work in the market because I was the market. It was me. The best ideas are born of necessity, and it’s a blessing, a light-bulb moment. I feel, clearly, very appreciative to MLB, who gave me the licensing first before the other leagues. No matter who I tell the story to, it always starts with MLB.

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SN: You’re not the only one in that game now, are you?

MILANO: Not anymore. I feel like the line really shined a light on the fact that female fans are important, too, as knowledgeable as male fans. Because, mind you, 10 years ago we were man-splained everything. I feel like what we were able to accomplish paved the way for female fans to be taken more seriously in general, not just about merchandising. I think that the industry has given us a voice, and I think that’s great.

SN: OK, let’s talk about your Dodgers …

AM: You know what? I don’t even want to talk about the Dodgers because I think I might jinx what they’re doing right now. I get asked when I do interviews, ‘Any predictions?’ and I don’t do predictions, because anything can happen during the season. And when it’s your team that’s doing so well — and we really haven’t had a season like this in, maybe forever? — to talk about it feels bizarrely weird as a sports fan. You know how us sports fans are, superstitious about everything. But it’s very exciting. I kind of watch every game with bated breath, thinking, ‘Is this going to be the game where everything falls apart?’ But, yeah, what an amazing year to be a Dodgers fan.

SN: It’s been pretty incredible, with Cody Bellinger doing his home-run thing and Justin Turner hitting almost .400.

AM: Amazing. And Alex Wood (10-0), too. All these guys who are, no pun intended, stepping up to the plate. I’ve had Dodgers season tickets for a long time, over 10 years, and there’s also a sense of camaraderie that I feel this year that I didn’t feel before. I don’t know if that’s (manager) Dave Roberts’ doing or just the right combination of guys, but to see (former general manager) Ned Colletti tweeting about the team that he’s basically responsible for, even though he’s not there anymore, everything’s just jelling.

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SN: Were you in LA when the Dodgers won in 1988?

AM: I was. We had moved to Los Angeles in 1983, and my dad was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan growing up, then rebelled against the National League and became a Yankees fan.

SN: Rebelled?

AM: Because the Dodgers left. It was like his life was shattered as a boy. When we moved to Los Angeles, he was like, I guess I can be a Dodgers fan again. Of course, then 1988 came along and that Kirk Gibson moment happened.

SN: Do you remember what you were doing when that happened?

AM: I don’t exactly, but I’ve listened to that Vin Scully call numerous times since then and it’s just amazing. I miss Vin, too.

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SN: Other than the Dodgers, what has caught your eye in baseball this year?

AM: The Astros look really good, and they’re fun to watch. I feel like I’ve been so focused on the Dodgers that everything else is kind of irrelevant. That whole division is great. Someone from that division, I hope, makes it to the World Series. Hopefully it’s the Dodgers, but if it’s not, it’s got to be someone else from the division.

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