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The Beat

The Red Sox have already played ball with the Queer Eye guys; now they'll rub elbows with the cast of another hit show. On Aug. 20, at Sonny McLean's sports bar in Santa Monica, Calif., pitcher Bronson Arroyo (left) will perform songs from his new rock album, Covering the Bases (which debuted at No. 123 on the Billboard chart) at an exclusive party for his teammates and Desperate Housewives cast members. "Most of us are married, but there are certainly some players who are interested in meeting certain other people that night," says the married Arroyo, who befriended Housewives actor James Denton in spring training.

■ Defending NASCAR champ Kurt Busch took note when fellow driver Jeff Gordon butchered a rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Wrigley Field in May. "As a Cubs fan I was beside myself during Jeff's performance," Busch jokes. "With Crown Royal as my sponsor, we encourage everyone to be a champ and drink responsibly, but I think Jeff may have gone a little over the edge that day." Busch will lead the crowd in the song on Aug. 9 when the Cubs play the Reds.

■ The way actor Mario Lopez sees it, something he scribbled down 16 years ago while auditioning to play Slater on Saved by the Bell may have helped land him a gig as cohost of ESPN Hollywood, a news program coming to ESPN2. "The [Bell] producers asked me to write down the stuff I liked to do, and I wrote 'wrestling and sports.' They liked that and made my character a jock. Sports have kind of shaped my career since," says Lopez, who played Greg Louganis in a 1997 TV movie. For his new gig, which begins on Aug. 15, Lopez, 31, has been keeping tabs on current events. "I just put a brand-new flat-screen TV over my bathtub so I can watch SportsCenter. I know my stuff, so I think it'll be a cinch."

■ Leave it to Dennis Rodman to turn a charity road race into the Cannonball Run. The Worm entered his $250,000 black-and-gold Lamborghini in the seven-day Los Angeles to San Francisco Bull Run (proceeds benefit disabled children) last week, and his performance would have made Dom DeLuise and Burt Reynolds proud. Rodman was ticketed twice for speeding, was accused of stealing a cowboy hat from a gas station ("a misunderstanding," says his agent, Darren Prince) and was rear-ended by a car carrying a cameraman. "All of that in three hours," says Prince, "yet none of the 20 racers ahead of him got in trouble." One possible reason Rodman drew so much attention from the law: the likeness of himself the Worm has painted on the side of his car.... Apparently, when Jack Nicholson sees green, he sees red. The Lakers fanatic, in Boston to film The Departed, reportedly banned all Celtics paraphernalia from the set and threatened to halt production if the rule is broken. Celtics rep Farra D'Orazio is hoping to get Jack to have a change of heart: "We'll send him tickets to come and see the Celtics in next year's playoffs, because otherwise he will have nothing to do in the spring."


A Welsh soccer team signed a player who is currently in prison on hooliganism charges.

They Said It


Blue Jays catcher, after catching all 18 innings of Toronto's win over the Angels last Thursday: "I definitely know one thing about Ernie Banks and his 'Let's play two' thing--Ernie Banks ain't never strapped on catcher's gear."








For once the fans in Philly weren't booing. Instead of filling the seats at Penn's Franklin Field with extras, the producers of the movie Invincible chose inflatable dummies. Invincible, which stars Mark Wahlberg, tells the true story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old substitute teacher and bartender with no college football experience who made the Eagles as a wide receiver in 1976 at an open tryout. The film opens in 2006.