Sports Beat

September 14, 2003

For the first 22 years of her life Veronica Kay was too busy to
take in a football game. In addition to her career as a
professional surfer, she's also a Roxy swimwear model and starred
on the reality show Boarding House: North Shore. Kay finally went
to her first game, between USC and Auburn, two weeks ago, but
only because the Trojans' quarterback is her boyfriend, Matt
Leinart (SI, Sept. 8), whom she has dated since April. "Matt has
grounded me," says Kay. For the past couple of months she has
settled near L.A. to be close to Leinart. The two-jock couple
spends as much time competing as canoodling. "The problem is that
Matt beats me in everything, even Connect Four," says Kay, though
she hasn't yet tested Leinart's mettle on a surfboard. "That,"
she says, "might be a different story."

--It was a long, dark summer at Baylor, but last Thursday the
Bears' stadium brimmed with cheers, laughter and, for the first
time in a long time, hope, as Bill Cosby led the student body in
a pep rally. Some 20,000 people attended the comedian's free show
and heard him talk about life, family and education. Cosby, in a
baylor track and field T-shirt, said he came to lift spirits at
the school, which has been battered by news of the murder of
basketball player Patrick Dennehy, the arrest of his teammate
Carlton Dotson and scandals in the athletic department. "The
people left out of this equation are the students, faculty and
administration that go into these buildings, which, by the way,
were not founded on basketball or football," Cosby told the Fort
Worth Star-Telegram.

--Time can turn old rivals into teammates. Plans are nearly set
for a best-of-three-sets doubles match pitting Jimmy Connors and
John McEnroe against Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. The Legacy
Tennis Challenge is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 27 in Las
Vegas, and the winners would split $1 million; the losers
$500,000. As a nod to the age difference (Connors and McEnroe are
51 and 44, respectively; Agassi and Sampras, 33 and 32) the young
'uns would get only one serve, unless they lose a set. "It looks
promising," says Connors. "I better get back into a little bit of
shape just in case that happens."

--Visiting base runners have a new topic of conversation in
Fenway Park: the video of Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar that
the team airs to fire up fans. The clip shows Millar as a
teenager earnestly lip-synching Bruce Springsteen's Born in the
U.S.A. Says Millar, "Everyone who comes to first base wants to
know now how it all happened." Millar explains that teammate John
Burkett got hold of the tape from an old friend of Millar's and
turned it over to the Fenway entertainment crew, which debuted it
before the sixth inning on Aug. 21. "I was rolling ground balls
when I heard the song come on," says Millar. "It didn't dawn on
me at first, and then I looked up and saw the biggest dork I'd
ever seen. I looked over at the Oakland dugout and saw [pitcher
Tim] Hudson laughing so hard he actually fell off the water
cooler." Millar isn't complaining, though. As he'll also tell
anyone who asks, the Sox have gone 6-3 at home since the clip's
premiere.... Redskins receiver Darnerien McCants had two big
opening nights last week. On Thursday he caught a touchdown pass
in the first NFL game of the season as Washington beat the Jets
16-13. The next night he celebrated the opening of his art
exhibit at The Old Yankee Framer gallery in Ashburn, Va. McCants,
who has an art degree from Delaware State, paints primarily in
acrylics on canvas and also does photography.

COLOR PHOTO: VINCE BUCCI/GETTY IMAGES (KAY) Going to the Matt COLOR PHOTO: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (LA TOMATINA) PICTURE THIS No, the well-red multitudes who descended upon the tiny Spanish village of Bunol (pop. 9,600) last month weren't reenacting Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! They were taking part in La Tomatina, an annual event in which folks gather in the streets and hurl 120 tons of ripe tomatoes at each other. The seedy tradition began in 1945, when a food fight broke out during a local carnival. COLOR PHOTO: JONATHAN DANIEL/GETTY IMAGES (PENA)

THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to discuss how teams
are selected for BCS games.

THEY SAID IT

WILY MO PENA
Reds outfielder, after failing twice to get down a bunt before
tripling to help Cincinnati beat the Cardinals: "I was surprised
by the bunt [sign]. I don't know how to bunt."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)