How many timeshave we seen it? Child TV star outgrows role and embarks upon a life ofdangerous behavior. So it wasn't surprising when earlier this month FrankieMuniz announced he's going to drive around really, really fast when his show,Malcolm in the Middle, ends its seven-season run next month. Muniz, 20, willjoin the Jensen Motorsport team in Formula BMW, an open-wheel developmentalseries, with an eye toward a seat in a Champ Car series in 2007. Muniz beganracing in 2004. Last year he won the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race prior to theLong Beach Grand Prix; this year he finished 11th but was forced to start withthe pros, 25 seconds behind the celebs. "I'm going to make it my full-timedeal right now because you kind of have to," said Muniz, who is planning toreturn to acting at some point. "You can't really juggle both because ifyou do, you just don't get enough time in the car."
• NFL playersaren't eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame until they've been out of thegame for five years. There's no such limit at the International Bowling Museumand Hall of Fame, however, so Jerome Bettis, who retired two months ago, willbe inducted in June. The Bus, an avid kegler who's rolled a 300 game and whohosts a bowling party every year during the week of the Super Bowl, will be thefirst person inducted into the Celebrities Hall of Fame, which is part of theSt. Louis Hall. "This is a tremendous honor," said Bettis, who said hehopes to "inspire others to enjoy the camaraderie, fun and greatcompetition that bowling offers."
• Is it possiblefor anyone to be as bad at baseball as the lovable losers in The Benchwarmers?Not really, says Reggie Jackson, who gives pointers to chumps Jon Heder, RobSchneider and David Spade in the comedy. "They're not as bad as they madethemselves look," says Jackson. In fact, it took a little work forSchneider to come off as a hack. "He's a pretty decent athlete," saysJackson. "He's got a good swing, and he threw well." (The Hall of Famerwas most impressed with Jon Lovitz, who plays a nerdy millionaire: "Hecould do a nice Willie Mays swing.") Apparently some of Jackson's longballmojo rubbed off on Heder. At a softball game before the movie's premiere, Hederavoided coming to the plate but was finally persuaded to take a few hacks inthe final inning--and jacked the first pitch he saw over the fence.
• Before he threwout the first pitch at the Pirates' home opener on April 10, actor MichaelKeaton ripped his hometown team's management for not spending enough cash tofield a contender. "I fear they will take advantage of the goodwill of thepeople who continue to show up," said the Batman star. "For my money,that's disrespectful." As for his pitch, Keaton's first try was in thedirt. He requested a do-over and fired one right down the middle.
An inflatable Gumby is nice, but the team of DarylBoyington (center), Toby Day (left) and Larry Doucette (right) picked the wrongclaymation figure for their entry in the 40th annual Kenduskeag Stream CanoeRace. Judging by their 49th-place finish, Pokey would have been the betterchoice. There were 339 boats in the 16.5-mile race, held every spring inKenduskeag, Maine. Said Boyington of his extra passenger, "If you can't befast, be funny."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
A seven-year-old boy had to be taken to the hospitalafter he was trampled at a minor league baseball promotion in which $1,000 wasdropped from a helicopter.
They Said It
GRADY LITTLE, Dodgers manager, on what he toldpitching coach Rick Honeycutt after Derek Lowe gave up a three-run homer on thefirst pitch following a visit from the coach:
"Whatever you just told Lowe, don't ever tell himthat again."
ROBERT F. BUKATY/AP (PICTURE THIS)
JEFF GROSS/GETTY IMAGES (GRADY LITTLE)
COURTESY OF THE US BOWLING CONGRESS (BETTIS)