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Sports Beat

Hey, good lookin', whatcha got cookin'? Handsome young couple
Andy Roddick and Mandy Moore should be asking each other that
question on Thursday--four days before the start of the U.S.
Open--when they make an appearance at the trendy W New York Hotel
in Times Square to take part in the "International Taste of
Tennis," a function to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels. The pair, who
were introduced by Moore's tennis-mad mom in Toronto last summer
and have been dating ever since, won't be alone. Among the
celebrity chefs kicking things up a notch will be Emeril Lagasse,
who will cook with Andre Agassi, and culinary cult figure
Morimoto, better known as one of TV's Iron Chefs.

--If timing is everything in Hollywood, then Trailblazers forward
Dale Davis has a bright future. Davis produced Playas Ball, a
film about an NBA star accused of rape. Sound familiar? Well, the
main character, Cedric Tinsley, played by Allen Payne (The
Perfect Storm), is based on Kobe Bryant--who five months after
the movie wrapped in February was charged with sexually
assaulting a Colorado woman. "It's strange," says Jennifer
Harper, who wrote and directed the movie. "I told Allen in
rehearsals that this character was Kobe Bryant. He's loved by
everybody, he has a solid family and he's a huge superstar." In
the film Tinsley is served with a paternity suit days after
signing a multimillion-dollar shoe deal. (Bryant signed with Nike
10 days before his arrest.) "I've seen a lot in my 13 years in
the league and unfortunately experienced a lot," says Davis, who
was involved in a paternity suit with Karla Knafel, the onetime
mistress of Michael Jordan. Davis, who has a cameo in the film,
along with teammates Scottie Pippen and Derek Anderson, made
Playas Ball for less than $1 million through his company, W.A.R.
(World Ain't Right) Entertainment, and he hopes to have a
distributor lined up before the start of the NBA season.

--Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas spent $1.6 million on a
house in her hometown of Mumbles in south Wales. But the property
abuts the Mumbles Cricket Club, which could be something of a
sticky wicket. The club's chairman, Mark Portsmouth, has offered
a £100 (approximately $160) reward to the first batsman who hits
a ball into Zeta-Jones's backyard, a poke of over 100 yards. "A
very big [hit] could just do it," says Portsmouth, "but it will
have to clear the ground, a tree-lined footpath and a fence."
That's not all: To collect the cash, the batsman has to ring the
doorbell and ask for the ball back. They needn't worry about
causing damage, though. The house's windows are bulletproof.

--The Royals apparently take their simulated games seriously.
Before pitching coach John Cumberland let Jose Lima, who has an
injured groin, begin his simulated start last Wednesday, he made
Lima and manager Tony Pena join him in a rendition of The
Star-Spangled Banner. Says Cumberland, "I said, 'You can't throw
a pitch until you sing the national anthem.' I started singing
and Jose and Tony joined in. Lima sang tenor, and Tony and I sang
bass."...Too bad Red Sox G.M. Theo Epstein wasn't around to
provide some musical accompaniment. The 29-year-old plays guitar
in a rock band called Trauser, and since taking over the team he
has befriended Pearl Jam frontman--and diehard Cubs fan--Eddie
Vedder. The two hung out in Seattle last week when the Sox were
in town, and, amazingly, it was Epstein who was turning heads in
the birthplace of grunge. One fan who wanted a picture with
Epstein even had Vedder snap it.


COLOR PHOTO: GARY BOGDON PICTURE THIS Hey, look, somebody threw away a bunch of perfectly good football players. Actually, Central Florida's (from left) Evandall Williams, Paul Carrington, Patrick Holland, Kyle Watkins and Tywin Kalandyk cooled off after two-a-days last Friday--when the high in Orlando was a sticky 85°--by hopping into garbage cans filled with ice water. It's the perfect setting for trash talk.


Ozzy Osbourne sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Wrigley Field
on Sunday.

Reds shortstop, on discussions about his future with the team,
which has an interim manager and no G.M.: "We've decided to take
a wait-and-see approach--mostly wait, because we don't know who
to see."