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• News item: Yankees pitcher Jeff Weav­er was listed on the Internet auction site eBay this week by a fan who went by the user ID ‘freerangeveal’. It’s kind of surprising that the Oakland Athletics, under computer-savvy assistant GM Paul DePodes­ta, haven’t taken to this approach to unload players. It’s brilliant: displaying a fitting photograph of a frustrated Weaver attempting to eat his glove, Mr. Free Range Veal was offering up the hurler in “fair-to-good condition; hardly used.” Although the listing acknowledged that the righthander showed minor wear, a main selling point was that Weaver’s golden blond hair was “freshly feathered.” There was a catch, however. The text warned that Weaver’s talent was not included in the auction, as that may be located in Detroit, and that the seller would only ship to Boston – a dig at former Yankee Ramiro Mendoza’s struggles in Beantown. “Acquired by mistake in an attempt to keep him from wearing red socks,” the listing read. The bidding reached over $99 million before being shut down by the service, which cited a policy that you can’t sell human beings. Makes sense to us. • Count Colorado Rockies outfielder Jay Payton among those who believe that ESPN ‘Baseball Tonight’ analyst Bobby Valentine is just killing time with his current place of employment. Asked if he believes his old manager Valentine will resurface in uniform next season, Pay­ton replied, “I’m sure he will, if he wants (a job). At the end of the season, there’s usually five or six openings, and I’m sure if he puts his name in, he’ll get one of them.” Valentine, who was fired by the Mets last October, is still collecting part of a $2.9 million paycheck from a contract that ex­pires after this sea­son. He had reportedly been offered a bench coach job with the Cincin­nati Reds before this season, which would have probably become a managing gig when the Reds dismissed Bob Boone last month. “He’s very knowledgeable, and he knows the game very well,” Payton said. “For some reason, there’s a lot of animosity out there against him, but if he gets a job somewhere, he’ll definitely help a team. He knows the game as well as anyone.” • When the Yankees ripped Kansas City’s Jose Lima for six runs in four innings on Monday night, the loud-mouthed Lima – who began this season playing with Rickey Hender­son on the Newark Bears in an independent league – opined that “somebody’s going to pay the price. I don’t know who, but some­body’s going to pay.” Lima must have decided later that the home crowd at Yankee Stadium wasn’t to blame for his poor performance, because the next evening, Lima spent over an hour actually in the seat­ing area down the left-field line. Signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans, Lima was obviously enjoying the experience of basking once more in the adoration of real, live MLB patrons. At one point, an NYPD officer asked aloud, “What time is it?” The Royals righthander, who is 7-1 since returning to the major leagues, responded, “It’s Lima time!” • From the very cool department: Roger Clemens steadfastly maintains that this is his last season in the big leagues, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll never see the Rocket pitch again. Clemens confirmed to the New York Times this week that he’s seriously entertaining the notion of taking the mound for Team USA in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He turned 41 on Aug. 4th, but that hasn’t seemed to slow him a bit. “There are a lot of things on my plate, but that happens to be one of them,” Clemens told the Times. “So we’ll see.” Clemens has been in a patriotic frame of mind ever since he accompanied servicemen on a tour of the Persian Gulf over the winter, an experience he ranked right up there with any of his playing career. • Actually overheard from a mother and a daughter tandem at Yankee Sta­dium on Tuesday, August 19, as YES Net­work broadcaster Paul O’Neill was being shown on DiamondVision: “Look at those eyes. He’s so cute. Does he still play?” Yes, ladies. O’Neill is still an active major-leaguer. That’s why he’s on the press level, in a shirt and tie, with a microphone in his hand. • Legendary New York Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner, on the thin air of Colorado’s Coors Field: “The ball travels 11 percent farther at Coors, so if you hit a ball 300 feet, it goes 311.” Bryan Hoch can be contacted at bryanhoch@yahoo.com.017p2_xlg.jpg



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