Publish date:

The Beat

The new Bachelor, Byron Velvick, is no stranger to doing some baiting and luring while the world watches. Velvick, 40, has been a pro BASS fisherman for 13 years. "It's truly bizarre," said Velvick, who is divorced, after watching the premiere episode last week with friends in New York City. "Nothing in life prepares you for this. I've always had bass for a prop, and this time there were only 25 women and no fish." Velvick (left), who won the U.S. Open in 1991 and 1996, spends more than 200 days a year fishing, and he plans on showing some of his dates how to fish. "I think he'll represent the sport well," said fellow angler Aaron Martens. "He's smart, he's good-looking, and he loves to fish. A lot of people don't know much about bass fishing, and Byron will introduce them."

■ He hasn't had much to smile about this year, but at least we know the Mets' Mike Piazza has healthy teeth. The catcher-- first baseman was hired by a team of contestants on Donald Trump's The Apprentice who, as part of the competition, were charged with creating buzz for Crest's new Vanilla Mint toothpaste. For brushing his teeth in New York City's Union Square, Piazza received $20,000 from the budding businesspeople. Before inserting brush in mouth, Piazza, 36, said, "I've been using Crest for as long as I remember, and I've never had a cavity in my life." After rinsing, he signed toothpaste boxes and fliers promoting the product. Alas, the all-female team that hired him went $5,000 over budget, causing them to lose the competition.

■ After more than 80,000 tickets had been sold and full-page ads in local newspapers promoting a showdown between the top two golfers in the world were placed, Tiger Woods pulled out of the 84 Lumber Classic in Farmington, Pa., on Sept. 21 citing post--Ryder Cup fatigue and exhaustion. Still, the day he withdrew, the supposedly drained Woods summoned the energy to chat it up on The Early Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, SportsCenter and Late Night with Conan O'Brien to promote his new video game, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005. The game features several pro golfers, plus Justin Timberlake, who golfs a black 8 ball and breaks out into celebratory dance moves on the greens.... With his public tirades against the need for practice and his controversial rap song 40 Bars, Allen Iverson has shown a penchant for putting his foot in his mouth. Worried that kids who bought his Reebok I3/The Answer shoes might do the same, the Consumer Products Safety Commission recalled 140,000 pairs after it was determined that the logo tag presented a choking hazard. As if Iverson didn't face enough questions about choking after the Olympics.... Look out Steffi and Andre: Kim Clisjters, 21, and Lleyton Hewitt, 23, have set a date. Tennis's top couple, who got engaged last December, will tie the knot in Australia, Hewitt's homeland, in February. Then they'll hold a second ceremony for friends at the castle of Saint-Paul near her home in Bree, Belgium.


An entrepreneur is seeking investors for the ThoroughBreast Racing League, which would allow pari-mutuel betting on races with topless women in Las Vegas.

They Said It


Marlins pitcher, on the team's poor attendance this season at Pro Player Stadium: "We need to come out in shoulder pads and helmets next year."






  No, Sleepy Hollow High doesn't have a new quarterback. The headless helmet belongs to Osceola (Fla.) High QB Ben Paul, who's fortunate his head wasn't in the game when his hat got caught between teammate Steve Williams (with ball) and Largo High's Grant Scelzi. What did Osceola take from the game, a 13-0 loss? It's time for the offense to buckle down--and for Paul to buckle his chin strap a little tighter.