World Series buzz: Rollins' celebrity girlfriend takes cake

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It remains to be seen if the Phillies can match the Yankees on the field. But star Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins can almost match Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in the celebrity girlfriend department.

A-Rod has been dating Oscar-nominated actress Kate Hudson ("Almost Famous") and Jeter is all snugly with "Friday Night Lights" star Minka Kelly. Both starlets have been at multiple postseason games, with Kelly almost always in the company of Jeter's parents.

Rollins can do the Yankees' superstars one better, though: He posed in the June 2009 issue of "Playboy" with his former trainer and future wife, Johari Smith.

They were both fully clothed

It was a fashion spread. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Smith is a certified personal trainer and part-owner of Balance, an upscale personal-training studio in Chestnut Hill, Pa., according to a recent story about Rollins in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Smith says Rollins is "very patient. You should see him with our dogs. He loves to train them. He makes me laugh. He's a really good cook. He's mastered grilling the perfect steak."

Rollins and Smith, who plan to wed in January on Grand Cayman Island, met in 2004 when Smith was an intern in the Phillies' marketing department, according to the Inquirer.

Rollins isn't just a winner in the amore department. He's a former NL MVP, a World Series champion with the Phillies last season and a proven prognosticator.

Remember when Rollins called the Phillies "the team to beat" in the NL East over the Mets? Three division titles in a row later, you'd have to give him props for that one.

Then there's this: In that Playboy spread, Rollins had this to say when asked about the Phillies getting back to the World Series:

"I see our boys vs. the Yankees. They spend all that money, they've got to be there. We've got a title to defend, so we're going to be there."

 

Jay-Z in Yankee state of mind

The Mets are fond of playing Long Islander Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" at Citi Field, but the Yankees are going a little more contemporary for the World Series.

Rap artist Jay-Z, whose song "Empire State of Mind" has been featured at Yankee Stadium during the postseason, will perform it live before tomorrow's Game 1.

Jay-Z, a part-owner of the Nets, will perform with fellow New Yorker Alicia Keys. Jay-Z told the AP Monday that he wanted to "thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee," a line he borrowed from Joe DiMaggio.

Hopefully, his songs are more original.

 

Pettitte gets game ball

Two things Jim Baumbach is unnaturally interested in: Who's throwing the ceremonial first pitch and what happens to the final ball used in a big game. So he was on the case Sunday night in the Yankees' champagne-happy clubhouse trying to find out what happened to the baseball Mariano Rivera threw to strike out Gary Matthews Jr. and send the Yankees to the World Series for the first time since 2003.

Typically, Jorge Posada gives the ball in that situation to Rivera on the mound. But not this time. This time he held on to it until he reached the clubhouse and gave it to Game 6 winning pitcher Andy Pettitte. "He deserved it," Posada said. "It's his ball."

 

Wet weather in Game 1 forecast

Have tickets for Game 1? You can start worrying now. It might rain Wednesday night. Heavily.

According to AccuWeather.com, "After a nice start to the week in the Northeast, nasty, rainy weather will spread across the region by midweek, threatening the first game in the World Series or at the very least making it a dreary evening for fans heading out to the game."

Weather forecasters often are about as accurate as economists or baseball writers. (Anthony Rieber's ALCS prediction: Angels in 6. At least he got the round and the number of games right.)

The forecasters were 1-for-2 in the ALCS, incorrectly predicting a rainout for Game 2 in New York but nailing the Game 6 postponement. Boo-yah, Storm Field!

In the spirit of batting .500, AccuWeather.com offers this hedge about Wednesday: "There is a possibility that the . . . storm will pass too far to the south to drop significant rain in New York City during game time."

So there you have it: It either will rain a lot or it won't. Hope that's helpful.

The rest of the World Series looks OK as far as weather at this point. There is a slight chance of rain in Philadelphia for Saturday's Game 3.

>> COMPLETE COVERAGE: Yankees go for 27th World Series title

>> PHOTOS: Ten reasons to fear the Phillies | Phillies arrive in NY for World Series | Yankees celebrate 40th AL pennant | ALCS highlights

>> BLOGS: E-Boland and the Bombers | Davidoff's Baseball Insider

>> MORE: World Series pitching capsules | Tale of Two Cities: NY vs. Philly | VOTE: Who wins the series?

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