Publish date:

Sports Beat

What better place than a bridge from which to take the Plunge?
Last week we reported that Titans running back Eddie George
proposed to R&B singer Tamara Johnson on the Brooklyn Bridge. Now
comes word that New York Rangers center Petr Nedved dropped to
one knee on the 650-year-old, statue-studded Charles Bridge in
Prague and popped the question to Veronica Varekova, the European
beauty who has been an SI swimsuit model. Wowed by the
old-fashioned proposal from her Czech mate, Varekova said yes.

--New Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer and his longtime fiance,
Sonia Flores, might have gotten engaged on London Bridge, which
since 1971 has been in Arizona, the state where he has played
much football (for ASU and the Cardinals) and where she was born
and raised. But they're not giving out details except to say that
they got engaged somewhere, and they'll marry after the NFL
season. "It was due to happen, bound to happen," says Plummer.
"It's a chance for us to be on our own and start a new deal."

--No one has ever accused Major League Baseball of being too hip
for its own good. And so in the fervent hope that somebody
finally will, the game is putting up millions to sponsor concerts
this summer, including many Lollapalooza and Ozzfest dates. Along
with the music, folks can experience the MLB Road Show, two
53-foot trailers full of batting cages, radar guns, video games
and memorabilia displays. Eddie Vedder and the rest of Pearl Jam
warmed for five recent shows by taking batting practice. MLB has
also made custom jerseys for the artists on the tours: Ozzy
Osbourne got a number 00 Dodgers shirt with OZZMAN on the back.

--But soft! A legendary sportswriter is the subject of a new play,
The Shakespeare of the Press Box: The Life and Times of Red
Smith, written by New York Times sports columnist Ira Berkow. The
two-act, one-man play traces Red Smith's hardworking life
(1905-82), during which he won a Pulitzer for commentary in 1976
while with the Times. "There is drama, humor and pathos," says
Berkow, author of a 1986 Smith biography, "and much of the play
is in Red's words." Those words--Smith once described Jackie
Robinson making a catch as "... stretched at full length in the
insubstantial twilight, the unconquerable doing the
impossible"--are set against a backdrop of piano music and
stirring photos. The play will be read this Thursday at a theater
in New York City--by 87-year-old screen great Eli Wallach--and
then run Sept. 3-7 at the Vineyard Playhouse on Martha's

--Art interrupts life: The start of the Tim Henman-Michael Llodra
second-round match on Wimbledon's Centre Court was delayed for
half an hour so a film crew could shoot scenes for a movie called
Wimbledon, starring Kirsten Dunst.... Roger Clemens is giving the
jersey he wore during his 301st career victory (against the Mets
on June 28) to Bob Hope as a belated 100th-birthday present.
During the off-season Clemens made like Hope and went to the
Middle East to visit U.S. troops. Said Clemens, "I got to do just
a little bit of that, and he did it for so long, it's pretty


THREE COLOR PHOTOS: SCOTT MARTIN/AP (PINIELLA AT SALON) PICTURE THIS It was very thoughtful of the Devil Rays not to win three in a row for so long after manager Lou Piniella said he would dye his hair blond if they did: You don't want Skip looking silly, right? When the Rays finally strung together three victories, Piniella found the experience wasn't so bad. After 30 minutes under a dryer, Piniella, 59, actually asked to go a little lighter. "He's usually afraid to try something new," says stylist Wilber Bonilla, who has been trimming players and coaches at Tropicana Field for six years. "I think it fits him good. It goes well with his gray."




David Beckham's July 1 physical exam for Real Madrid was broadcast on pay-per-view TV in Spain.


U.S. cyclist, after suffering minor injuries in a 35-rider pileup
on the first full leg of the Tour de France: "It's never good to