The Grand Kabuki performers at the Kennedy Center may be all ritual and tradition on stage, but they're baseball players at heart. The Kabuki troupe, minus their rigid costumes, will be playing IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes) Local 23, the Kennedy Center stage crew employes, in a game at noon today on the Ellipse . . .

They're sure to be best sellers, if Simon and Schuster can find an editor who can keep the books a bit shorter than his speeches. U.S. News & World Report says Cuban leader Fidel Castro has signed a three-book, $1.3 million deal with Simon and Schuster to write books on the Third World, the failure of religion and the failure of economics, as well as a book on a yet-to-be-determined subject . . .

The streets at Dupont Circle may be more congested than usual tomorrow night when radio station WRQX-FM (Q-107) gives away eight Bruce Springsteen concert tickets during a live broadcast from Numbers. And to make matters worse, the winner must be present at the 685-person-capacity club to win. Numbers is also saying that Nils Lofgren, the lead guitarist in Springsteen's E Street Band, will be performing there that night . . .

Former president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn rode by bus from Atlanta to New York City yesterday to work for the second summer in a row on housing for the poor. The Carters, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, will spend a week working on New York's Lower East Side helping renovate a six-story apartment building . . .

You would think that after Washington, a trip to Disneyland wouldn't have been necessary, but Chinese President Li Xiannian made a brief visit to the theme park yesterday. He had planned a four-hour visit, but shortened it because he was tired . . .

The word out of New York City, where director Mike Nichols is filming Nora Ephron's novel "Heartburn," is that there is to be a change in the casting. Meryl Streep is still to play the Ephron character, but Mandy Patinkin is out -- the word is that Jack Nicholson will now be playing the role of Mark, generally recognized as being former reporter Carl Bernstein . . .