• U.S.

People: Jul. 23, 2001

3 minute read
Josh Tyrangiel


TV ratings for the All-Star game were up 9% this year, and it’s no wonder. CAL RIPKEN JR., America’s official icon of staying power, provided enough heart-tugging drama for a Billy Crystal TV movie by crushing a home run in his final bow at an All-Star game. Grown men wept as the room-service fastball, served up by Chan Ho Park, landed beyond the left-field fence. For comic relief, TOMMY LASORDA took a flying baseball bat off his hip while coaching third base, wobbled over and popped right back up like the giant, adorable Weeble he is. “I feel great,” Lasorda proclaimed. Feeling great is better than looking great.


A nation of young girls went to Mommy and Daddy last week and said, “Tell me why-ee?” A.J. MCLEAN, Backstreet Boy, checked himself into a rehab center to receive treatment for depression, anxiety and excessive consumption of alcohol. His four partners in Backstreet made the announcement to fans on MTV’s Total Request Live. “He was becoming a vampire,” said Kevin Richardson of McLean’s late-night habits, which frequently caused him to miss morning rehearsals. “After a while, it was disrespectful to us,” said Howie Dorough. “If you have a cancer, a weak link, you have to fix the problem.” McLean is expected to return to Backstreet in 30 days, at which point the group will resume their North American tour. McLean, with his naughty head wraps and tattoos, has always been Backstreet’s bad boy, but he may have been pushed to an even darker place–at least by boy-band standards–by the recent death of his grandmother. Behind the Music has dispatched a crew.

Brotherly Love

Snuff fans had to be cheered last week as the inexorable march of network television toward live-murder broadcasts took another step forward. JUSTIN SEBIK, 26, a contestant on the CBS reality snoozefest Big Brother 2, was tossed from the show after he really wielded a butcher knife, really held it to the throat of a fellow contestant he was kissing and really asked, “Would you be mad at me if I killed you?” Both Sebik and his paramour, Krista Stegall, had apparently been drinking earlier in the evening, and it was clear that Stegall was not concerned by the proximity of the knife. Still, Sebik was kicked off the show with alacrity–two hours after the incident he was gone from the house–because producers had previously warned him about “violent talk.” CBS deemed the knife scene too gratuitous to broadcast, but decided that a Sebik interview with Big Brother 2 host Julie Chen fell within the boundaries of good taste.


STEFFI GRAF and ANDRE AGASSI, tennis’ high-profile love match–thank you very much!–announced last week that “Steffi ist schwanger!” (That’s “pregnant,” for those of you who don’t speak German.) “This is a very exciting time for us,” said Agassi in an official statement. “We are so happy to have been blessed with this gift.” Graf, 32, and Agassi, 31, have been together since 1999. Rumors of the pregnancy started flying at this year’s Wimbledon, where Graf kept an unusually low profile. The German newspaper Bild, quoting Graf’s mother Hannah, says the couple are expecting a boy sometime in early November. They might want to sock away some of that tennis prize money for any future shrink bills. Having just one tennis parent has been known to mess up a few kids.

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