The Beat

January 24, 2005

The engagement lasted longer than expected, but Olympic softball ace Jennie Finch and Diamondbacks minor league pitcher Casey Daigle threw a wedding worth waiting for last Saturday. (They planned to marry last fall but postponed because of Finch's hectic post-Athens schedule.) The couple (left) exchanged vows at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., then celebrated with 200 guests at the Santa Ana Performing Arts & Event Center. On Monday they left for a honeymoon in the South Pacific. Finch had better enjoy the downtime: Last month she signed with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch league, and she'll be busy promoting The Sak, a handbag line that recently launched an ad campaign featuring her.

■ Turner Sports broadcaster Charles Barkley asks, Who Is Afraid of the Large Black Man? in the title of his new book, cowritten by Michael Wilbon and due out in March. The book's material is culled from interviews Barkley did with Jesse Jackson, Barack Obama, Tiger Woods and Bill Clinton, among others. As for the title, Barkley said, "I needed a catch. It's a positive book on race. All of my books are thought provoking."

■ Since Jeff Garcia became the Browns' quarterback last year, little has gone well for him on the field--he had a QB rating of 76.7, 24th in the NFL--or off it. Last week Garcia testified in the trial of his girlfriend, Carmella DeCesare, the 22-year-old 2004 Playmate of the Year who was accused of assaulting a woman in a fight over Garcia. DeCesare allegedly karate-kicked Kristen Hine, 32, whom Garcia dated before DeCesare, after one of Hine's friends threw a drink at DeCesare in a Cleveland club in August. DeCesare was acquitted of assault but convicted of violating a protective order that Hine had obtained. Garcia said he was embarrassed to be "caught up in a situation like this."

■ Proving that Ahnold isn't the only athletic governor, West Virginia's Bob Wise got his black belt in taekwondo last Saturday, just three months after surgery on both knees--and two days before leaving office. In front of an overflow crowd at a South Charleston, W.Va., taekwondo school Wise sparred and broke pieces of wood with his feet and elbows. "I don't know that my job is that much different than anybody else's," said the Democrat, who didn't seek reelection. "How do we deal with that stress and how do we focus our energies to what's important? Taekwondo is about the best school for learning."

■ Cowboys apparently don't dig Sacha Baron Cohen's humor. The star of HBO's Da Ali G Show nearly caused a riot at a Salem, Va., rodeo last week. Saying he was "Borat," a documentary filmmaker from Kazakhstan, Cohen delivered a graphic pro-war message, then butchered the national anthem, changing the last line to "Your home is the grave." He bolted with his camera crew as the crowd of 4,000 booed. One observer told The Roanoke Times, "If he'd been out there a minute longer, I think somebody would have shot him."

THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

An Illinois high school basketball coach was fired for drawing up a play that had a player throw the ball at a heckler.

They Said It FRANK ROBINSON

Baseball Hall of Famer and Washington manager, recalling that a scout once told his mother that Robinson could sign for $3,500. "My mother said, 'That's fine, but I don't think I have $3,500.'"

COLOR PHOTOCLIVE BRUNSKILL/GETTY IMAGES (PICTURE THIS) PICTURE THIS He's one of tennis's most talented players, is ranked fourth in the world and was a finalist at the 2004 Australian Open. No wonder Russia's Marat Safin had it made in the shade as he prepped for this year's Open in Melbourne last week. That's his backlit silhouette, not his shadow, on the court at Rod Laver Arena. A warning to the chair umpires working the tournament: Safin won't hesitate to take umbrage at your calls. COLOR PHOTOBILL GREENBLATT (ROBINSON) COLOR PHOTOJOHN HAYES/GETTY IMAGES (FINCH)

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)