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Cardinals diss Quincy digs; Sox fan in starry company

MEET ME IN QUINCY Call them the St. Louis Crabs. In a story in the Post-Dispatch yesterday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa characterized his team's accommodations during its visit to Boston as embarrassing and ''a real bummer." (Because many area hotels had been booked for months for the Head of the Charles, the Redbirds were shunted 12 miles south of Fenway Park, into the lovely Quincy Marriott.) ''For most of these guys, this is their first World Series experience, right?" La Russa said. ''When the game is over, if you're [in Boston] there are all kind of restaurants here. In Quincy, there wasn't anything except for the hotel that stayed open for us. We shouldn't have had this problem." What, the Egg & I on Hancock Street wasn't good enough for you? To be fair, although the hotel's room service shut down at 11:30 p.m., it did provide an after-hours spread of bar food for the team and its traveling party. And, really, does Larry Walker eat anything but bar food? La Russa said he considered returning the favor by booking the Sox into a hotel in Jefferson City, Mo., but he can't -- they're already in at the Adam's Mark in St. Louis.

NICE WIN Young Sox fan Charlie Ashley of Portland, Maine, got lucky -- twice. Not only did his team make it to the World Series, but he's been selected the winner of Ameriquest's ''Take a Legend to the World Series" sweepstakes. The 21-year-old Bowdoin College senior gets to attend tomorrow's Game 4 in St. Louis, and will be joined by Hall-of-Famers Tommy Lasorda, George Brett, and Ozzie Smith at the game. ''The three of us have plenty of World Series experience," Brett said of the their nine combined appearances. ''Tommy can show Charlie how to put away some serious hot dogs, Ozzie can give him some pointers on how to dance, and I'll gladly show him how to put down a few beers."

SPECIAL GUESTS Oscar winner Sean Penn is in town today for a screening at Loews Boston Common of his latest, ''The Assassination of Richard Nixon," and word is he'll stick around afterward to answer questions along with the film's writer-director Niels Mueller -- a Tufts grad -- and producer Alfonso Cuarn. Show up with a college ID and you just might be able to get into the 4 p.m. screening . . . Meanwhile, tonight at the Coolidge Corner, US Representative Barney Frank introduces, ''Let's Get Frank," a new documentary directed by Bart Everly exploring the absurdity of private-life political scandals. If we know Barney, he'll also answer a few questions . . . And old friend Ross Perot -- remember him? -- delivers his rap at the Boston Chamber of Commerce's breakfast tomorrow.

DIG THIS SALE Readers of The Weekly Dig may soon notice a few changes at the alternative newspaper. The pub's been purchased by Metrocorp, parent company of Boston Magazine, and it's about to be jazzed up. ''It'll be enhanced and amplified," said Dig publisher Jeff Lawrence. ''The page count will grow, and we're hiring tons of new people. Everybody wins." The Weekly Dig's been on the street since 1999. Lawrence said he'll stay as an equity partner, whatever that means.

STAND-IN The Boston Symphony Orchestra played its first New York concert with new conductor James Levine last night, and it did so with a substitute tenor in Mahler's Eighth Symphony. Ben Heppner was a touch under the weather during Saturday's performance at Symphony Hall, so doctors advised him not to sing at Carnegie Hall. Vinson Cole, a favorite BSO guest for many years, flew in from Seattle to replace Heppner.

EVENT EASY AS A-B-C-D The antipoverty group ABCD is by the numbers this year. The group will honor 20 neighborhood volunteers at its 30th annual dinner, which comes as the organization is marking the 40th anniversary of the Economic Opportunity Act. The keynote speaker at Friday's dinner is Robert Reich, labor secretary in the first Clinton administration, with Celtics coach Glenn ''Doc" Rivers also scheduled to say a few words.

Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253.

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