NEW YORK -- Just like the last time the Sox and Yankees slugged it out, it was chilly -- miserable, actually -- at the Stadium last night. But even on a Sunday in April, a few boldfaced names managed to break away for the game. (We were initially concerned about the opener's celebrity quotient because ex-catcher Jim Leyritz -- whoa! -- stepped off the train at 161st Street with us.) However, hustling into the park before the first pitch were Fox New Channel's Bill O'Reilly, actor Tony Danza, ''60 Minutes" tandem Mike Wallace and Don Hewitt, and ancient bandleader Skitch Henderson. Leaving his lovely wife Melania at home, developer Donald Trump walked in with talk-show host Regis Philbin, who was no doubt prepping for his hard-hitting interview with ''Idiot" author Johnny Damon. (The Sox center fielder flogs his memoir on ''Live with Regis and Kelly" this morning before heading to a book signing at Rockefeller Center.) And apparently recovered from the humiliation of losing four straight to the world champs last fall, Yankee stalwarts Penny Marshall and Billy Crystal took their usual seats at the Stadium, as did ''Saturday Night Live" boss Lorne Michaels and ''Sopranos" actress Lorraine Bracco.
PRE-GAME WARMUP The 2005 baseball season couldn't start soon enough yesterday for rabid Red Sox fans at the Riviera Cafe and Sports Bar in New York's West Village. Kind of a Cask 'n' Flagon South, the Riviera is that rare Manhattan watering hole where Red Sox Nation is always welcome. Some six hours before game time, a few dozen fans in Sox gear were already gathered, and a few dozen more were on their way. ''It's going to get mad," said Mauricio Guerrero, the Riviera's assistant GM. ''Usually, we're packed by the time the game comes on, and we have a line around the building to get in." As they waited for Randy Johnson to sling his first pitch as a Yankee, the crowd bided its time watching basketball -- the Celtics, of course -- on the bar's 27 TVs. Nick Provost, a bartender at Abe & Louie's in the Back Bay, made the trip to the Big Apple with his wife, Michelle. ''We figured we'd have a better chance of getting tickets for this game than for the home opener," he said between bites of lunch. ''It's my first time at Yankee Stadium. I never wanted to go because of that 1918 [stuff]. Now I can go with my head held high." Provost was one of several patrons who plunked down money for a couple copies of Dan Shaughnessy's ''Reversing the Curse: Inside the 2004 Boston Red Sox." (Shrewdly, the Globe sports columnist did a book-signing at the Riviera before making his way to the Bronx yesterday.) Steve Sertell, GM of the Riviera, paused as he unpacked 100 bottle openers that play Joe Castiglione's call of the ground ball that clinched the American League pennant last fall. ''These won't last long," he said, smiling.
INSIDE BASEBALL Judging from the trailer, ''Fever Pitch" won't have a problem finding an audience outside Boston. But there is one joke in the movie that may not play in Palookaville. Keep an eye out for the impossibly good-looking guy who is Jimmy Fallon's rival for Drew Barrymore's heart. The character's name? Patrick Lyons. Yes, just like the Boston nightclub king whose trendy nightspot Sonsie also makes an appearance in the film.
STAND-UP GUY He was relentlessly goofy on ''The Carol Burnett Show," usually with his sidekick Harvey Korman, but the show's been off the air for years. So what's Tim Conway been doing since? Being relentlessly goofy, usually with his sidekick Korman. ''We never intended to be a team, but after 'Burnett,' I got custody of Harvey," said Conway, who'll be at the Wang Theatre on Saturday with Korman. ''I'm the bright guy, the one who writes the whole show, and Harvey can hardly tie his shoes." The aging comics -- Conway's 71 and Korman is 78 -- recently copped top honors at the TV Land Awards, but Conway said longevity isn't all it's cracked up to be: ''I've eaten so much roughage, I'm starting to pass wicker furniture."
HE COLORS HER WORLD If colorist Michael Casey does his job well the world never knows. But at the new ''color floor" at Salon Mario Russo Saturday, Casey's client Bernadette Peters attracted a lot of attention. (Peters was pampered for her concert last night as part of the
SPRING TRAINING Miss Massachusetts Cristina Nardozzi is in Baltimore, where the Bridgewater State College beauty's getting ready to strut her stuff in the Miss USA pageant on April 11. Reached on her cellphone the other day after a dance rehearsal, Nardozzi said she isn't nervous, at least not yet. ''I know in a few short days, I'll be seen by millions of people on TV, and I can't wait." (Anyone else who can't wait can go to www.covergirl.com and vote for their favorite among the 51 women competing for the crown.) In the weeks leading up to the event, Nardozzi said she had a coach for walking, talking, and even dressing. ''I knew how to do all those things, but you have to glam it up for Miss USA."
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