03/27/2002 at 12:00 AM EST
Ah, spring! When a young man's thoughts turn to...baseball. Dennis Quaid, 47, his girlfriend, Texas real estate designer, Cynthia Garrett, Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan,and baseball greats Willie Mays and Ozzie Smith were among the well-wishers who walked the green Astroturf carpet for the New York premiere of Quaid's new film, "The Rookie." The movie, which opens Friday, is based on the true story of middle-aged baseball coach and family man Jim Morris, who followed his childhood dream of becoming a major league baseball pitcher. Morris, a high school chemistry teacher, played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for two seasons. On hand for the premiere, the former ballplayer reported to PEOPLE how satisfied he is with Quaid's portrayal. "I think Dennis did a fantastic job," he said. "He worked so hard on it, getting the pitching down and then just learning about me. We spent a lot of time throwing balls side by side." Kwan told PEOPLE that although she loves watching baseball, she will be sticking with her chosen sport, ice skating. "Baseball's, no good for me," she told PEOPLE. "I pitched once and I made it to the mound, I was pretty impressed." Fans have also asked the ice skater to sign baseballs. "I've signed autographs on baseballs before and I'm thinking, 'Now, that's not right.'"