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Rapper Nelly, a vision in Cardinal red, is sight to see in Game 4

OUT OF LEFT FIELD We were looking for hip-hop sensation Nelly, who was said to be on his way to St. Louis for Game 4, when we stumbled upon Rupert Jee, the Manhattan deli owner who's a regular on David Letterman's show. (The likable Rupert was wandering around outside Busch Stadium with a film crew, presumably taping a bit for the "Late Show.") Moments later, former NBA player Charles Barkley and US Representative Richard Gephardt of Missouri trolled past, but still no Nelly. And just as we spied an injured John Olerud hobbling into Yankee Stadium last week, we ran into an injured Cardinal last night, lefty reliever Steve Kline, who was grabbing a sandwich before the game. Walking forlornly back into the park, who should we see but Cornell Haynes Jr., better known in these parts as Nelly. Clad in Cardinal wear -- red jacket and hat turned to 5 o'clock -- the original St. Lunatic didn't have much to say. But a sighting of Nelly is better than a hearing of either Gretchen Wilson, who sang the national anthem or former Creed frontman Scott Stapp, who wailed "God Bless America."

ROOM SERVICE The Cards crybabied about their digs while in Boston, but the Bosox have no complaints about their accommodations. Tito Francona's club is staying at the plush Adam's Mark Hotel, a few blocks from Busch Stadium. Not only do the rooms all have WebTV and Internet access with wireless keyboards, but in the lobby, there are a pair 9-foot-tall bronze horses created by Venetian artist Ludovico De Luigi.

VIP TREATMENT The FleetCenter's Charlie Jacobs and Bruins' coach Mike Sullivan chartered a private jet and flew 50 business execs -- folks from Bank of America, EMC, The Middlesex Corp., and BATG Environmental, Inc., among others -- to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4. The group got primo seats, of course, because Delaware North Companies, which owns the FleetCenter, also managed the hospitality operation at Busch Stadium . . . Massport's director of external affairs Carole Brennan said at least six charters left Logan bound for St. Louis in recent days. "Believe me," she said, "that's not the norm."

PAY UP Just as it's never too soon to plan a victory parade, it's not soon to think about how to pay for such an event. (Considering the Pats parade in February cost $465,000, what d'ya think a rally for the World Series-starved Red Sox would go for?) One idea, we're told, is to have businesses sponsor the Duck boats that would carry Manny, Pedro and the rest of the delirious dirt dogs along the parade route.

RUNNING THE TABLE In town for a game against the C's, NBA champ Rasheed Wallace was watching prospective MLB champs, the Boston Red Sox, on the plasma screens at Felt the other night . . . Monday was an off night for the Sox, so after Godsmack's show with Metallica, Sully Erna and the boys stopped by Foley's bar on Kingston Street. (Big Sox fans, the band played a private party at Lucky Strike last week and were joined on stage by Johnny Damon, Mark Bellhorn, and Kevin Millar during "I Stand Alone," from Godsmack's CD "Faceless.")

COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTION Shreve, Crump & Low, the official bling-provider of the Boston Red Sox, is waiting to see if Katie Couric will wear the baseball-themed charm bracelet it Fed Ex'd her yesterday. (Shonda Schilling and team owner John Henry showed up on Fox the other night wearing one of the jeweler's fancy Fenway Park pins.) . . . Meanwhile, pitcher Curt Schilling reprises his role as a neophyte New Englander in a new Dunkin Donuts spot. The guy's got a lot of "haaht."

OWNER OCCUPIED Billionaire investor Warren Buffett will check out the goods at the new Jordan's Furniture Superstore in Reading tonight. Don't ask us why, but the complex includes a whole town made of jelly beans -- 11 million of 'em -- and features a 40-foot-high Green Monster, just like the one at Fenway, with Wally perched on top clutching a Yankee player in his glove.

OCTOBER SURPRISE The Red Sox's winning ways have been a windfall for the Jordan Boys & Girls Club in Chelsea. Autographed bats donated before the World Series have fetched $1,000 each in an online auction. (Doesn't hurt that American League Championship Series MVP David Ortiz signed one, and Curt Schilling signed the other.) Still available is an autographed Pedro Martinez ball.

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