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03/20/2008 2:51 PM ET
Fantasy baseball secrets from Meat Loaf
Rock star and Yankees diehard details baseball love affair
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
When Meat Loaf can't make it to a ballgame, he's stays in touch with fantasy baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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Meat Loaf has had a long, hugely successful career with a lot to be proud of.

There's his album Bat Out of Hell, which has sold almost 40 million copies, stayed on the charts for close to a decade and still moves about 200,000 copies a year over 30 years after it was released.

There's Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

There are the Top 40 singles, including "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and the No. 1 smash "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)."

And then there was the time a few years ago when Meat Loaf drafted Minor Leaguer Ryan Braun, protected him on his roster and put him in the starting lineup when Braun was called up to the Milwaukee Brewers last year, kick-starting an improbable Rookie of the Year campaign.

Huh?

Yep, in addition to being a larger-than-life rock star, an actor who appeared in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and a searing stage presence to this day, the man who calls himself "Meat" is a bona fide fantasy baseball freak and New York Yankees fanatic.

"I do so much fantasy baseball that it's ridiculous," he says. "So what I do is I root for the Yankees, and on any given night, my pitcher might be pitching against the Yankees, so I root for the Yankees to win, 1-0.

"In that situation, I don't want my starter to give up runs. I want the middle reliever to give up that run. Or I want any hitters I have going against the Yankees to get four hits but never score."

Meat Loaf's love for the Yankees began when he was a kid growing up in Dallas. The Metroplex area didn't yet have the Rangers, but CBS owned the Yankees and they were on television every Saturday.

"We didn't have any other team, so it had to be the Yankees," Meat Loaf says. "I mean, Dallas-Fort Worth had the Rangers Triple-A team, but Mickey Mantle was living in Dallas. That kind of sealed the deal for me."

When it comes to fantasy baseball, Meat Loaf offered a few opinions and tips. He said he'd much prefer to pick in the middle of a draft and not have the overall first selection.

"I prefer to be fifth or sixth in a draft of 10 teams or so because you'll get a really top guy in the first round, like a David Wright or a Matt Holliday, and then you can get a decent player coming back. Even 10th is OK. You get two picks at once. And as long as you get (Boston closer Jonathan) Papelbon, you're OK, too."

But as Meat Loaf suggested, he'll do anything for an obscure selection in the late rounds that ends up being a breakout star. One could say he might even do "that."

"That's the most fun, when you find those sleepers," he says. "Like Braun last year. I picked him up and sat him until he came up from Triple-A. If I had picked 10th this year, I might have gotten Ryan Howard and him, too."

Meat Loaf's baseball fandom goes far beyond the fantasy world, though.

He enlisted the late Yankees great Phil Rizzuto to narrate the spoken-word bridge in "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," in which Rizzuto "announces" a baseball play that metaphorically details the travails of adolescent love.

He realizes that the song "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" definitely applies to baseball teams in three-game series.

He's friends with Yogi Berra.

And he says he'll occasionally go to the ballpark when he's on the road touring - if he can find the time and it's convenient.

"Every once in a while, if we have a day off, like in Cleveland or Baltimore, somewhere where the hotel is like two blocks away, I'll do it," he says. "I love Camden Yards, just love the aesthetics of it. And you gotta love Yankee Stadium for the history. And what can you say about Wrigley Field?"

Meat Loaf says one of his best days at the ballpark came when he sat in the Wrigley dugout with then-Cubs manager Dusty Baker and chatted for an hour before a game.

"We just sat there and looked out at the ivy, and seeing it on TV just doesn't do it justice," Meat Loaf says.

"That place is pure baseball. It's just magical."

Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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