The Beat

September 03, 2006

Seventeen is asweet age for the Gretzky clan. In 1978 Wayne Gretzky signed his first procontract, for $1.75 million with the WHA's Indianapolis Racers. Now his eldestdaughter, Paulina, is breaking out at age 17: The aspiring pop singer, whosemother is actress Janet Jones, just released her first single, Collecting Dust.Paulina (below, with Wayne) went public three years ago when she belted outSarah McLachlan's I Will Remember You in front of 57,000 fans before aCanadiens-Oilers game in Edmonton. Dust (sample lyric: "Page by page Ilearn/How fast love letters burn") has played on Laguna Beach and isavailable on iTunes, where it has scored a nearly perfect "popularity"level.

■ The Mets' 8--7win over the Cardinals on Aug. 22 was no snoozer--not that Bill Clinton wouldknow. Clinton toured the clubhouses at Shea Stadium and gave autographs toplayers, and the former Little League outfielder, who grew up listening toHarry Caray call St. Louis games on the radio, told reporters, "TheCardinals were always my favorite team." All that activity must havetuckered out the ex-pres, who had turned 60 three days earlier. TV camerascaught him napping in his seat behind home plate in the eighth.

■ During NBAAll-Star weekend in February, celebrity bidders like rappers Fat Joe andJermaine Dupri splashed down for Air Jordan products (including shoes signed byHis Airness) in a silent auction organized by the company. Now that money isgoing to good use. Last week several Jordan brand executives, Team Jordanathlete Roy Jones Jr. and friend of the brand Run DMC presented a $450,000check to Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans. Afterward Jones helped kick off aHabitat construction project in the city's Ninth Ward. "Doing something assimple as that means a lot to me," said Jones, who manned a power saw."This house is going to be a brand new start for someone."

■ Ben Affleckfinally got his hands on a Fenway foul ball. On July 30 the avid Red Sox fanwas sitting along the first base line for an Angels--Red Sox game when he andAngels first basemen Howie Kendrick both tried to snare a foul pop. Kendrickcaught it--and the Fenway faithful booed Affleck for not disrupting Kendrick.On Aug. 15, for his 34th birthday, Affleck received the ball and a videotapedmessage from Kendrick that said, "Sorry I didn't let you have that foulball, but I have a job to do. Nice try--even for a Red Sox fan."

■ Maybe it'sbecause he likes to get his two scents in, but David Beckham is introducing hissecond cologne, called Intimately Beckham. (His first, Instinct, has sold morethan 50,000 bottles since last November.) The new release will come in versionsFor Him (patchouli- and amber-based), and For Her (inspired by Beckham's wife,Victoria, and redolent of vanilla and sandalwood). Leave it to Beckham to getbooted from the English team and come up smelling like a rose.

PICTURE THIS

There is no questioning the bravery of Belgium's JohanVervoort, even if he did back down from this challenge. Vervoort and 80 othershurled themselves off the 1,381-foot Kuala Lumpur Tower, the world'sfifth-tallest freestanding tower, last week. Daredevils from around the worldflock to the KL Tower International Jump every August. Said Jason Cyran, anAustralian skydiving instructor, "This is a safe place to try out trickystunts in the air." Makes you wonder about Cyran's idea of a dangerousplace.

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

English Premier League players are storing stem cellsfrom their children's umbilical cords to use as treatment if the players suffercareer-threatening injuries.

They Said It

BOBBY BOWDEN, 77-year-old Florida State coach, onwhether he keeps tabs on Penn State's Joe Paterno, 79, in their race for thetop spot on the alltime wins list:

"I look in the obituary section every day to seeif Joe is still out there."

PHOTOANDY WONG/AP (PICTURE THIS) PHOTOGEORGE PIMENTE/WIREIMAGE.COM (GRETZKY) PHOTOJIMMY DEFLIPPO/US PRESSWIRE (BOWDEN)

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)