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POSE OF THE DAY

Tennis star Serena Williams appears, well, almost nude in the August (and final) issue of Jane magazine, which hit newsstands Tuesday. The "Go Naked'' edition shows Williams in a pair of heels with her back to the camera and covered strategically by flowers. The issue is to promote Clothes Off Our Back, a nonprofit organization that sells celebrity clothing to benefit children's charities.

Goalie of the day

Wyatt Russell, the son of actors Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, has signed to play hockey at Alabama-Huntsville under a partial scholarship. The younger Russell went 18-5-1 in the Ontario Provincial Junior League last season and he will play for coach (and former Lightning player) Danton Cole at Huntsville. The older Russell is a former minor-league baseball player but has hockey in his past, having played Herb Brooks (very well, I might add) in the movie Miracle.

Animal controversy of the day

The California Supreme Court has banned the sale of the adidas soccer cleats made popular by star David Beckham because they are made of kangaroo leather. However, that decision could be overturned by September. But before you get bent over Beckham, know this: Beckham demands that his cleats are made of synthetic leather instead of kangaroo hide.

NHL on NBC changes

The Toronto Globe and Mail is reporting that NBC had decided to scrap its studio show during NHL broadcasts next season. That's not exactly heart-breaking news considering the show lost the outspoken Brett Hull, who took a front-office job with the Dallas Stars. Besides, host Bill Clement makes a better analyst than a setup man.

Still, it looks as if the network is going to replace Hull with former Islanders GM Mike Milbury, who will likely work on site at whatever game the network is showing. Ray Ferraro probably will stick around in some capacity, but it isn't known. Meantime, Clement likely will be dropped as the host of the NHL broadcasts. He would make a great analyst, but NBC already has top-notch A-game analysts in Pierre McGuire and Ed Olczyk.

He said, she said

Oh, this is juicy.

Kimberly Williams, the June 2007 Penthouse Pet, says she is being hassled by former NFL great Marcus Allen. Williams tells Steppin' Out magazine that she talked to Allen on the phone for some time, but never actually met him in person. She said she became a little creeped out because Allen is a regular at the Playboy Mansion and that his MySpace.com page is filled with girlfriends thanking him for "lunch'' (not to mention that a 47-year-old man has a MySpace.com page). Anyway, she told Steppin' Out:

"So I started to pull away from him just to protect myself. But he calls me over 15 times a day! ... He started to send me these terrible text messages. 'Where the hell are you, Kimberly!' ... It's really scary. ...Things got really bad after I did the Howard Stern show. He got very upset that I got nude on the show. Hello! I'm a Penthouse Pet! ... I told him he needed to calm down ... but he got even angrier."

Allen's lawyer, Larry Stein, told the New York Post: "It's the other way around. She's the one pursuing him. She started sending him pictures of herself with no clothes on. She's trying to get publicity."

Three things you probably didn't know

1 The top four-rated Brewers telecasts ever on FSN Wisconsin have come this season. Which only proves the point: People can't get enough of Prince Fielder.

2 Ratings for Versus' coverage of the Tour de France are down 6 percent from a year ago. However, video views on Versus' Web site are up 25 percent.

3 Don't be shocked if the Cubs end up being sold for $1-billion. Yes, that's billion with a B.

Your two cents

I am part of a loyal Devils Rays fan base that is becoming increasingly appalled, while becoming more organized in standing up against the atrocious state of the Devil Rays. We were promised great things by our new ownership and it seems that we are getting the same false promises that have been heaped on us for over a decade now. I know it is common practice to chalk up the things the Rays are going through as "growing pains" but even the casual viewer will notice that this franchise is being operated as solely a business and not as a prideful baseball team that has the will to compete. We were promised a commitment to winning and the willingness to spend the money needed to achieve a winning team, but instead got free parking, a stingray tank and affordable hot dogs. I speak for all loyal fans when I say we don't mind paying to park, or paying full price for concessions, if the owners are willing to put a winning team on the field.

Brent Jowers

via e-mail

Just a friendly fan reminder before football season starts and the Rays get no coverage. Please tell it like it is. The front office needs to make some moves now to fix this team. Fire Friedman, Fire Maddon, Fire the bullpen.

Stephen H. Bell

Lake Wales

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