HER FATHER invented the Ali Shuffle, so perhaps America should expect great things from Laila Ali on Dancing with the Stars. Muhammad's daughter (left)—who is 23--0 in the ring—is rumored to be in the running for a spot on the fourth season of ABC's hit show, which begins next month. Other rumored participants include Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills, 90210), Joey Fatone of *NSYNC and country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. An ABC rep declined to comment on prospective hoofers.
• Few things are more romantic than watching thousands of people chant "Jeter sucks!" in unison. That's probably why someone got the idea to bring speed dating to Fenway Park. In July, NESN, which airs Red Sox games, will unveil a segment called Sox Appeal. At selected home games one fan will go on three two-inning dates and then decide which prospect he or she wants to watch the rest of the game with. NESN executive producer Joel Feld said that the idea gives viewers another reason to watch a game, whether the designated daters "hit a home run or strike out." Anyone whose date is a slam dunk will be penalized for mixing their metaphors.
• You know what they say: No publicity that involves knitting is bad publicity. That's probably why Tony Siragusa recently helped the DIY Network (which will air his home improvement show, Man Caves) draw attention to its Super Sunday Knit-In, which will happen at the same time as the Colts-Bears game and will encourage nonfootball fans to break out the yarn. Just don't expect Goose (right) to attend the Knit-In. The former defensive tackle will spend Super Bowl weekend hosting a 2,000-person Super Bowl party in Fort Lauderdale that, according to its website (gooseparty.com), will feature "more girls per yard than South Beach."
• Talk about a singles event: Ron Artest tossed 500 one-dollar bills into the crowd at Stereo in New York City, where he was having a party to celebrate the release of his latest record (and his belated birthday). At least money doesn't stain; earlier in the evening Artest sprayed champagne on rapper Jadakiss, actress Michelle Rodriguez and several of his Kings teammates.
• Reading North Dallas Forty, the 1973 novel written by former Cowboys receiver Peter Gent, helped Mark Bavaro decide he wanted to play in the NFL. That mission accomplished, Bavaro, whose nine-year career as a tight end (with the Giants, Browns and Eagles) ended in 1994, now wants to follow in Gent's footsteps again. He has sold a novel to St. Martin's Press that his editor, Marc Resnick, says is "a modern-day North Dallas Forty." Big Blue will be published next year.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
A Wisconsin strip club owner is offering a lifetime membership in exchange for Super Bowl tickets.
"Maybe I should take up hockey—at least they let you wear a helmet." That's probably what Massimo Scali was thinking last Friday when partner Federica Faiella dropped him on his head at the European Figure Skating Championships in Warsaw. The Italian pair saw their shot at a medal slip away with their miscue on this lift. They finished sixth, while France's Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder won the competition.
They Said It
TODD JONES, Tigers pitcher and Alabama resident, on the $12 million contract ex-teammate Jamie Walker, a Tennessee native, signed with the Orioles:
"Twelve million dollars in Tennessee? He might as well be Donald Trump.... That's a lot of generic-brand beer and a lot of NASCAR tickets. You know how many fishing lures you can buy at Wal-Mart with $12 million?"
PETER ANDREWS/REUTERS (SCALI ON HIS HEAD)
YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (SCALI AFTER FALL)
DAVID E. KLUTHO (JONES)
MICHAEL WINTER/DIY NETWORK (SIRAGUSA)
CHRIS PIZZELLO/REUTERS (ALI)