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Sports Beat

She took a gamble when she picked pretty boy Jason Peoples over
nice guy Adam Mesh in the first season of Average Joe, but now
Melana Scantlin (below) is covering risky wagers from the
sidelines. The former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader is the
roving reporter for the Game Show Network's new show The World
Series of Blackjack. Hoping to capitalize on the success of The
World Series of Poker, the blackjack show was shot at the Mohegan
Sun Casino in Connecticut and pits players against each other as
well as the house for a $100,000 purse. After the series premiere
last week, The Chicago Tribune wrote that Scantlin "does not
sparkle in her role. Her diction is sloppy, questioning of the
losing player perfunctory. But maybe she just wasn't interested
in him because he was mediocre looking."

--Designer Joseph Abboud ran a two-page ad in last week's New York
Times Sunday Magazine that featured Petr Nedved, Alex Kovalev and
Anson Carter showing off Abboud's gear. The ad, which described
the trio as New York Rangers, read, "No matter where we're from,
New York is home. We're all working toward the same goal." Uh,
small problem: All three players have been traded away by the
Blueshirts in the past two months as part of the organization's
rebuilding effort.

--It was a walk to remember when Andy Roddick won the U.S. Open
last year and made his way through the stands to plant one on his
girlfriend, actress-singer Mandy Moore. But now it looks as if
the game's over for Andy and Mandy. Friends of the tennis star
reportedly said he got "sick of the Hollywood thing" and wanted
to concentrate on his game instead of his long-distance
relationship. Almost two years ago Moore, 19, saw a picture of
Roddick, 21, in a magazine and sent her mother to meet him at a
Toronto tournament and bring him back to the set for her film How
to Deal. Now she's dealing with the breakup. Though her agent
denies the split, Moore told YM magazine in its March issue, "He
doesn't like L.A. very much" and "[he] doesn't care about the
industry. I don't think he 100 percent understands it and nor
does he want to." ... Newport Beach, Calif., may be the safest
place in the country to have a heart attack, thanks to Lakers
forward Karl Malone and his agent, Dwight Manley. The two split
$81,000 of the $91,000 cost for 45 defibrillators to be placed in
each of the city's police cars. (The community raised the last
$10,000.) Malone became interested in the cause when his mother,
Shirley, died last August at the age of 64 from a massive heart
attack. "Karl always wondered if his mother would still be alive
if there was a defibrillator in the police car that came to her
house," Manley said. "He wanted to do whatever he could to help
prevent people from asking the same question in the future." ...
Give Tonya Harding this: What she lacks in grammar skills, she
makes up for with principles. When Dan Patrick offered the skater
turned pugilist the chance to box Phil the Showkiller, a regular
on his ESPN radio show, Harding declined. She said, "I'm not
going to make a skeptical [sic] out of my boxing career."

COLOR PHOTO: CHARLES KRUPA/AP PHOTO (PICTURE THIS) PICTURE THIS Pirates outfielder Darryl Ward made last Friday bat day at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers--much to the surprise of a few rows of fans. In the third inning he took a cut at a pitch from Boston's Pedro Martinez, and his bolt of mountain ash went flying into the seats, scattering spectators. Ward might as well have let whoever retrieved his bat hit with it. He finished the afternoon 0 for 5 in an 11-8 loss.




A Thai man in the Guinness Book of World Records for spending the
most time with snakes died of a snakebite.

Agent, on the newly shaved head of his client, Dolphins running
back Ricky Williams: "People are adjusting to it. Unlike Samson,
he has retained all his strength, wisdom and sex appeal."