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Original Issue

Sports Beat

You knew it had to happen: Mark Cuban has gone Hollywood. The
Mavericks' owner has partnered with fellow Internet tycoon Todd
Wagner to form a movie production company called 2929
Productions. Their first project, a quirky documentary called
Searching for Debra Winger, was directed by actress Rosanna
Arquette and recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
"Rosanna interviewed actresses talking about the challenges they
face from Hollywood as they age," says Cuban, "not only from
trying to find roles in an industry where youth rules, but also
in balancing family, friends and careers." Appearing in the film
are stars such as Meg Ryan, Holly Hunter, Frances McDormand and
Daryl Hannah. The final interview is with Winger, who dropped out
of the industry for several years after getting fed up with
Hollywood. "I spent some time with Rosanna while she was filming
it, and I'm proud of what she's been able to accomplish," says
Cuban, who notes that despite his executive producer credit on
the film, he is a silent partner in 2929. Hard to imagine Cuban
as a silent anything, isn't it?

--As any Yankees fan might tell you, never let a Red Sox
supporter open his mouth for too long--he usually sticks his foot
in it. Just ask Ben Affleck. The actor was in Toronto last week
to promote his new film, The Sum of All Fears, when he was
invited to sit in the Fox booth with broadcasters Sean McDonough
and Jerry Remy during the Blue Jays-Red Sox game. Affleck, a
die-hard Sox fan, took over the mike and did some shaky
play-by-play for nearly six innings. Along the way he criticized
outfielder Trot Nixon's inability to hit lefthanders and also
dissed Boston infielder Lou Merloni for saying earlier in the
season that the team had "made a mockery of my career" by
repeatedly sending him to the minors. "He absolutely sucks," said
Nixon afterward. "Matt Damon made you what you are, slick." Added
Merloni, "A mockery is his last four movies." After hearing of
the reactions, Affleck went on McDonough's radio show later in
the week and apologized profusely, saying he'd been a "jerk-off."
None of the Red Sox disagreed.

--Last week ABC gave the go-ahead to a pilot based on the 1997
book Letters from a Nut, written by Ted L. Nancy. The book
consists of wacky notes sent by Nancy to various businesses,
which then sent back unintentionally hilarious responses. Sports
letters are prominent, including the one Nancy sent the Lakers
asking if it would be O.K. to attend a game wearing pants with a
see-through bottom for medical reasons. "The only time you will
see my cellophane exposed buttocks will be during the time I
enter and exit the arena and during behind the back passes and 3
point buzzer shots," writes Nancy. (The Lakers' response: "If you
have medical documentation, we will be glad to provide an
attendant to escort you to your seat and explain your situation
to the nearest usher.") Or the one Nancy sent to boxing promoter
Bob Arum demanding Arum stop a fight between Larry Holmes and Max
Schmeling. ("Max Schmeling has to be 85 years old. Has everyone
gone insane?!") By the way, Ted L. Nancy is a pseudonym. Though
it's never been confirmed, the writer is widely believed to be
Jerry Seinfeld.


COLOR PHOTO: AL BELLO/GETTY IMAGES PICTURE THIS When a hematoma the size of a studio apartment appeared on Hasim Rahman's head in the eighth round of his bout with Evander Holyfield, the fight was stopped, scores tallied and Holyfield declared the split-decision winner. The swelling got worse the next day. "Remember the Elephant Man?" said Stan Hoffman, Rahman's manager, who plans to protest Holyfield's head butt.


An eight-month-old boy was denied entrance to the Germany-Saudi
Arabia World Cup game at Japan's Sapporo Stadium because he
didn't have a ticket.


Red Sox outfielder, commenting on Ken Caminiti's claim in last
week's SI that 50% of major leaguers use steroids: "Well, I'm not
one of them, so that's 49 percent right there."