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Monday, September 15, 2003
A day of mourning

By Miki Turner
Special to Page 2

There I was, trying to enjoy what was left of the Los Angeles Sparks-Detroit Shock game on Sunday when I turned on my laptop and read the headline that forever changed the tone of my day.

Ben and J.Lo Call it Quits.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez
What really happened between everyone's favorite celebrity couple?
In the midst of my devastation, I rang some journalist friends. In our shared despair, we pondered how we could go on now that the wedding/marketing campaign between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez was definitely(?) off. There will be no shots of the blushing bride in a fabulous Vera Wang gown, gazing at her new husband with lust in her eyes. Nor will there be any Kodak memories of the dashing hen-pecked groom in classic Armani, groping his new wife's biggest and best asset.

All those months of anticipation. All those bets on how long it would last.

Gone. Kaput.

Those of us who cover the ups and downs of the celebrated bunch will likely have to observe a lengthy period of mourning before we can derive any pleasure from hearing the clickity-clack of our keyboards again. The relationship between these two mega-maniacs had sustained us through hurricanes, blackouts and the announcement that HBO was pulling the plug on "Sex and the City."

Dear Lord. What will we do?

Ben (known now as 'Hen,' for henpecked) and Jen's breakup is far more devastating than Liz and Dick (the first time), Justin and Britney, Sean and Madonna, Madonna and her first-baby daddy, Brad and Gwyneth, Julia and Lyle, Regis and Kathie Lee, J.Lo and P.Diddy, Liza and David, Meg and Dennis, Michael and Lisa Marie or the undocumented split between Michael and his sanity.

Oh, but wait. Lisa Leslie just scored to pull the Sparks within five of the Shock with less than five minutes to go.

I'm so sorry. That very abrupt digression was very disrespectful to the memory of Hen and Jen. Bad journalist. Bad, bad, bad. Focus!

So when I finally brought myself to read the AOL/People magazine story about how the couple split on the very weekend they were to be married in Montecito, Calif., I was surprised to read that it was ... wait, Leslie just drove the lane for another two! The score is tied!! As I was saying, I was shocked to learn that according to unnamed sources, it was -- L.A. up by one with 21.5 seconds remaining! -- OK. Sorry -- the strip-bar-loving Hen who initiated the split -- uh-oh, Detroit goes up by one with 12.1 left!

Again, my apologies. I obviously need to refocus my priorities in life.

These same mysterious sources also claim that a tearful J.Lo was holed up in her 11-bedroom South Beach home (likely conferring with her handlers on how to plant some stories in the National Enquirer). Hopefully, the pain of her beloved Jets losing to Miami on Sunday didn't add to her pain.

Unfortunately, I never did get to the end of the story. The game was so exciting that it wore me out and I fell asleep immediately after ABC beamed Bill Laimbeer's smug mug into my bedroom. Detroit won by one.

It was, however, a fitful slumber. I kept wondering if Hen and Jen simply pulled a fast one on an adoring American public. Was their relationship all a calculated scam devised to hold America under siege? Did the romance falter because Hen has a penchant for lap dances? Was it the bad reviews for Gigli? Is Hen really in love with Matt Damon? Did Demi drop Ashton and go after an older boy toy like Hen? Did P.Diddy threaten to crash the reception?

Oh, the agony of not knowing.

So, in an effort to get some sort of closure, I'm appealing to all my fellow scribes -- please, don't let this story end here. We must uncover the truth so that we can sleep through the night. We must comfort in each other during this most difficult time. Embrace a stranger on the street. Compliment your editors. Offer to pay someone's cab fare. Send a contribution to PETA. Buy an R.Kelly sex video from a hustler in Times Square. Heal.

But most of all folks, get a life.

Batter Up
Vivica A. Fox knows how to play some games. The 39-year-old actress played swing on her Indiana state high school championship-winning basketball team back in the days when the girls still played with the regulation boys ball. But when it comes to playing the game of love, the star of "Two Can Play That Game" and the upcoming "Kill Bill, Vol. I," has been throwing some bad curve balls of late. Let's take a look at some of her most recent stats.

First up. Dennis "The Worm" Rodman. Fox didn't actually have a long-term affair with the former NBA rebounding king; but early in her feature film career, she accompanied Rodman to the Academy Awards.

The pitch: Up and over anyone's head. Batter walks away. There is a God.

Vivica A. Fox & 50 Cent
Vivica A. Fox gets up to the plate with 50 Cent.
Second up: Christopher "Sixx Nine" Harvest. He swept her off her feet in a bar one night, showering her with roses and compliments until she let him in the game.

The pitch: Out of the park. The rapper wannabe circled the bases and collected his bride at home plate. Sadly, however, Sixx Nine's career never quite took off (brother man had no job) and Fox put him on waivers last year.

Third up: Darnerien McCants. The sly Fox pulled a Demi Moore and snagged this hunky Washington Redskins wide receiver who is 15 years her junior. The two attended this summer's ESPY awards together; and then suddenly, he too, went the way of Sixx Nine.

The pitch: Change-up. McCants got a little piece of it, but was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the late innings.

Still on Deck: 50 Cent.

It appears that Fox, who made her public debut with Half-a-Buck at the MTV Video Music Awards, needs to step off the mound for a minute and reassess her game plan. Pitching to this gangsta boy-toy rap star (a.k.a. Curtis Jackson) is as risky as heaving fastballs to Barry Bonds. First, however, she should study his less-than-impressive stats. He's been named in a lawsuit by an Alabama limo driver who was roughed up by one of 50's bodyguards. And most recently, his entourage was involved in an incident in New Jersey where shots were fired. Heck, this guy may not live long enough to step up to the plate!

The pitch: Walk this brother right out of the park!! Better yet, get a reliever.

Who Knew?
Seann William Scott
Stifler should try out for the Yankees bullpen.
Seann William Scott doesn't just play a jock in those raucous American Pie movies; he was once a top high school jock without the attitude of his celluloid alter ego, Steve Stifler. Scott, who is currently starring in "The Rundown" with The Rock, grew up in Cottage Grove, Minn. playing hoops, football and baseball. Although he was a standout pitcher for Park High School and initially wanted to play college baseball, Scott became so obsessed with the sport that he wasn't having fun any more.

"I was working next door to a movie theater and I just started watching a lot of movies and I thought, maybe this is my out," Scott, 26, said during an interview in Los Angeles. "I couldn't just quit sports because I'd been playing it since I was four. I thought I was going to be a professional athlete. But then I thought: I wasn't really quitting sports; I was just moving on to something else."

His most memorable moment?

"I pitched a no-hitter when I was a junior in high school during summer league," he says. "I had a second no-hitter going in the second game and this kid had this little blooper hit in the sixth inning and I was so pissed that he ruined my no-hitter that I walked the whole team. We were so ahead. I had this slider that I used to throw at the batter's head and it would always break down. It was the greatest pitch ever -- and I rocked this guy right in the jaw.

"You gotta do it, you know!"