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Sports Beat

Ballplayer Justin Sherrod doesn't have to worry about getting cut
by the Red Sox--the outfielder led the Double A Portland (Maine)
Sea Dogs with 74 RBIs last year and is expected to start the 2004
season with Triple A Pawtucket. Alas, he did get cut from The
Bachelorette, on which he was one of Meredith Phillips's 25
suitors. (Phillips's prospective mates also included an Arena
Football League player and a pro hockey player--both of whom made
it past the first cut.) J-Rod, 26, didn't seem broken up about
the dis. "You know what you need to say to stay on the show," he
says. "Mushy crap, like how one guy brought her slippers so he
could 'walk every step of the way with her.' I just wasn't
attracted to her enough to even come up with a good lie."

--David Wells, who's had some tough times with the press,
volunteered to take any and all questions last Thursday. The
not-so-portly portsider (he's lost 20 pounds since having back
surgery in December) was appearing before elementary school
students at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center in his hometown of
San Diego. The new Padre was quizzed on his favorite manager
(Sparky Anderson), toughest outs (George Brett and Mo Vaughn) and
his childhood career dreams ("A photographer, a trucker or a
baseball player. I chose the right path, I guess"). When asked if
he and fellow former Yankee Roger Clemens--whom Wells tweaked in
his book Perfect I'm Not--are friends, Wells replied with a grin,
"I think so."

--Shaquille O'Neal, while still nursing a strained right calf,
celebrated his son's birthday at L.A.'s PINZ bowling alley, a
popular hangout for celebrities such as Cameron Diaz and Justin
Timberlake. Shaq's Lakers teammates Derek Fisher and Bryon
Russell were among the 35 guests at the party, which for Shaq was
BYOS: Bring Your Own Shoes, because PINZ doesn't stock size
23s.... Saturday Night Live cast member Seth Meyers introduced
Red Sox G.M. Theo Epstein's band, Trauser, at the Jan. 11 Hot
Stove, Cool Music benefit concert in Boston by saying, "Theo, you
just turned 30. Really, when are you going to do something with
your life?" Epstein showed that at least he's learned a passable
Pete Townshend impersonation, windmilling his guitar through a
rendition of The Who's The Seeker.... How happy are people in
Washington that Joe Gibbs is back coaching the Redskins? Last
Wednesday, D.C.-area Domino's pizzerias gave anyone named Joe a
$3 discount. (Anyone named Joe Gibbs, including the coach, gets
free pizza during the 2004 football season.) But anyone named
Richie, Norv, Terry, Marty or Steve--the first names of the five
men who have coached the team since Gibbs's first stint ended in
1992--had to pay an extra dollar, with the money going to
charity.... The Supreme Court rejected without comment an appeal
from Todd McFarlane, meaning that former Blues tough guy Tony
Twist's suit against the comic-book creator, who paid just over
$3 million for Mark McGwire's 70th-home-run ball in 1999, can
proceed. In his comic book Spawn, McFarlane created the character
Antonio Twistelli, a bloodthirsty Sicilian mob boss. In 2000
Twist won a $24.5 million judgment against McFarlane after
arguing that the characterization cost Twist endorsement
opportunities. The award was overturned on appeal and a second
trial was ordered. McFarlane was trying to have the suit thrown
out, but it is scheduled to begin on June 7.... From last
Tuesday's CFL transaction report: "Winnipeg Blue Bombers--Signed
DE Tom Canada. Released S Tom Europe."

COLOR PHOTO: MANU/L'ARC EN CIEL (HELICOPTER) PICTURE THIS It may be the first time anyone has ever done a wheelie out of a whirly: Fabien Barel, a 23-year-old French mountain bike champ, leaped from a helicopter hovering 15 feet above Re´union Island, a tiny land mass smack in the middle of the Indian Ocean, then pedaled down the slope of an active volcano. He had said he wanted to ride "where no one had ridden before." Mission accomplished.





Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman announced that he
received the endorsement of ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman.


Canadiens defenseman, on his candidacy for the Norris Trophy as
the NHL's best blueliner: "The only Norris I know is Chuck."