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BUD IS BACK

Bud Collins' television hiatus didn't last long. Collins, who was dropped last month by NBC after 35 years of covering tennis for the network, was hired by ESPN and will cover the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon beginning in 2008. Collins, also a correspondent for the Boston Globe, has been a fixture at majors since the 1970s. He is known for his unique wardrobes and catchy nicknames for players.

Mellencamp is still here

John Mellencamp, who has been playing rock 'n' roll for three decades, will headline the NFL's Opening Kickoff 2007 on Sept. 6 before the Colts-Saints game. Mellencamp will perform at Indianapolis' RCA Dome while Kelly Clarkson, Faith Hill and Hinder will play at nearby Monument Circle. The concert will be 30 minutes before the game and simulcast by NBC and the NFL Network.

Trashing St. Louis

In the ninth inning of Monday's 10-5 loss to St. Louis, Padres announcer Matt Vasgersian commented on two fans who fell over a wall near first base to get a foul ball. "As one of the Ozarks' finest pours himself over the wall to get the ball ... and by the way, the Rams should still be in L.A. ... Had it with this place already ... get back in your El Camino and drive back to the Ozarks ... We get our a-- kicked every time we come here ... I'm not coming here next year.''

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