The Beat

June 18, 2006

What's a 13-lettersynonym for "Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina"? "Crossword geek,"perhaps? "I prefer crossword jock," the righthander told SI. "Geekis a pretty strong term." Mussina appears in the upcoming crossword puzzledocumentary Wordplay (June 23) with fellow puzzle devotees Bill Clinton, BobDole and The Daily Show's Jon Stewart. Mussina likens his desire to finish apuzzle to his drive for a complete game. "It only happensoccasionally," he said, "and those games are really special." Thefilm focuses on The New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz, but Mussinaconsiders those puzzles out of his league. He prefers to nab a USA Today fromhis hotel room and then huddle up with teammates Jaret Wright, Shawn Chacon andMike Myers. "When we get a group," he says, "we can really poundone out."

• The public debutlast week of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's offspring, daughter Shiloh,overshadowed the arrival of another celebrity birth. Olympic gymnastics goldmedalists Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci (right) welcomed their first child,Dylan Paul, in Oklahoma City on June 3. Conner, 48, and Comaneci, 44, combinedfor 11 Olympic medals before marrying in Romania 10 years ago. No wonderdelivery-room staff described the newborn as a "perfect 10" and Connerjoked, "He already has definition in his deltoids and his biceps."

• If you'd like toget a little taste of the Dave Matthews Band but don't feel like shelling out$75 to catch the group on its summer tour, you might try keeping your earsglued to ESPN2 later this month. Boyd Tinsley, the band's violinist and a rabidtennis fan, composed The Ghost of Wimbledon, the theme song the network willuse for its coverage of the tournament, which begins on June 29. Tinsley alsosponsors the Boyd Tinsley Tennis Program, which provides instruction andequipment for kids in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va.

• This summerSamuel L. Jackson battles Snakes on a Plane; next year he'll be a snake, ofsorts. In Resurrecting the Champ, Jackson will play a homeless man who tricks asportswriter (Josh Hartnett) into believing that he's a former heavyweightcontender. The screenplay is based on a 1997 Los Angeles Times Magazine storyby J.R. Moehringer (author of The Tender Bar), who fell for a similar trickwhile searching for Bob Satterfield, a reckless 1950s fighter who wenttoe-to-toe with Archie Moore, Jake LaMotta and Rocky Marciano. Hall of Famequarterback John Elway has already shot a cameo for the film, which is set inDenver.... Packers fans should keep their eyes on football flick We AreMarshall, which hits screens in October. Dorsey Levens, who twice led Green Bayin rushing before retiring (from the Eagles) last year, swung by the film's setat Morris Brown College in Atlanta last week, and the next thing he knew he wasshooting a scene. Levens was shot pacing the sidelines for Xavier as anassistant coach. Says Levens of his first acting gig, "It's almost like atwo-a-day out there; it's brutal."

PICTURE THIS
If Clark Kent had run track for Smallville High, it might have looked somethinglike this. At the Calgary City High School Championships last month, CalebKowalko of Dr. EP Scarlett High executed the Superman exchange during the4√ó100-meter relay. It worked: Kowalko and his mates took first place in theevent. Kowalko showed off his flying skills again the following week. He wonthe pole vault at Alberta's provincial championship meet.

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
In Washington state playing poker online is now a felony that carries the samepenalties as possessing child pornography.

They Said It
MILTON BRADLEY, A's outfielder, after hearing Alex Rodriguez, the game'shighest-paid player, get booed at Yankee Stadium: "That's rough. But I'lltake the boos for $25 million."

PHOTOJOHN ROBERTS/MOONDANCEPHOTO.CA (PICTURE THIS) PHOTOBEN MARGOT/AP (BRADLEY) PHOTOMJ KIM/GETTY IMAGES FOR LAUREUS (COMANECI AND CONNER)

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)