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Original Issue

Sports Beat

He's always on the road; several women have claimed he's cheated
on his wife, Victoria, with them; and his sons, Romeo and
Brooklyn, may very well grow up to hate the names he gave them.
But David Beckham has still been named one of the 20 finalists
for England's Celebrity Dad of the Year Award. Voting for the
award, which is done on the Internet, ends June 15, with Beckham
facing stiff opposition from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, rocker
Sir Bob Geldof and prime minister Tony Blair.

Now that she doesn't have to spend time with her Friends,
Jennifer Aniston is taking part in the Olympic torch relay. The
35-year-old actress--the daughter of actor John Aniston, who was
born in Crete as John Anastassakis--will run a leg when the torch
makes its way to the U.S. in June. (The relay begins its
46,800-trip from Sydney to Athens on June 4.) Also set to lug the
lamp: ER star Parminder Nagra, who played the lead in Bend It
Like Beckham. Nagra, 28, showed so much athletic ability in that
movie that bookies in her native England are taking bets on
whether she can run faster than Aniston in the relay. Ladbrokes
has installed Nagra as the 8-to-11 favorite.

In 2002 Charleston RiverDogs co-owner Mike Veeck staged Nobody
Night, in which fans weren't allowed into the park until the
fifth inning. The master promoter is at it again, this time
spotlighting a particular nobody: Marc Turndorf, a 35-year-old
video game producer from Los Angeles. Turndorf paid $5,601.01 on
eBay to get a plate appearance for Veeck's St. Paul Saints in a
May 14 exhibition game. Turndorf, who will also play in the
outfield, has been working on his swing in the batting cages.
"I'm making contact--pathetic contact--maybe 80 percent of the
time," he says. As for his dream scenario: "I'd love to get on
base and try to steal second." And his worst-case? "They give me
some chin music, I rush the mound, turn around, and no one's
following me."

Falcons quarterback Mike Vick took to the airwaves in Atlanta on
April 27 to debunk a fake Internet report that claimed he had
come out of the closet. A story quoting Vick as saying, "I've
been a gay man hiding behind lies about my sexuality for years,"
was posted by an organization calling itself Global Associated
News. It looked real--except for the link at the bottom informing
readers it was a hoax. Still, Vick went on the radio and
proclaimed, "I won't even feed into that.... Everybody who knows
me, knows how I get down. It's not even an issue."

Stats, spreadsheets and the relative merits of on-base
percentage and slugging percentage don't seem like fodder for a
Hollywood blockbuster, but that hasn't stopped Sony Pictures from
acquiring the rights to Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair
Game, the best-selling book by Michael Lewis. The film will focus
on Billy Beane's roots as a top prospect gone bust before delving
into the numbers-based system he now uses to evaluate players as
Oakland's G.M. Lewis, who has nothing to do with the film, says,
"I don't have the first idea how they plan to do it. God help
them." ... Want to get Eminem and Moby in the same room? Ask the
New York Athletic Club. They've convinced UConn's hoops coaches
Geno Auriemma and Jim Calhoun, whose relationship is frosty to
say the least, to come to dinner together on May 18. They'll
receive the 2004 Winged Foot Awards, which are presented to the
coaches of the women's and men's NCAA national champs.


COLOR PHOTO: JASON PETERS (PICTURE THIS) PICTURE THIS Tom Petty would be proud. In the skies over Perris Valley, Calif., on April 30, 42 thrill-seeking women and men broke the world record for the largest number of people free-flying in formation. Unlike traditional skydiving, in which divers move through the air on their bellies at around 110 miles per hour, free-flyers zoom earthward headfirst at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour.


On Sept. 4 the Class A Daytona Cubs are giving away a

Cubs manager, after outfielder Moises Alou (far left) said he
urinated on his own hands to harden them: "I notice guys don't
want to shake hands with him. Everybody just gives him the fist."