A bargain bat? Don't bet on it
The black Mizuno bat that Pete Rose used for his big-league-record 4,256th and final hit (pictured above) is being auctioned by a New York firm that expects it to become one of the most expensive bats ever sold.
Lelands.com president Mike Heffner said the highest auction price for a bat was $1.3 million, paid for the one that Babe Ruth used to hit his first homer at Yankee Stadium. Heffner says Rose's bat could sell for something close to that figure.
The bat is now owned by Richard C. Angrist, a prominent collector of sports memorabilia. Angrist has put some of his items up for auction through Lelands.com, which is taking initial bids online through July 9.
The collection includes a 1938 Dizzy Dean jersey, a 1965 autographed Don Drysdale bat, a 1959 Roberto Clemente jersey, a Rogers Hornsby bat from 1924-26 and a George Sisler bat used in 1920.
Lelands.com hasn't tested the Rose bat to see if it has been corked. A story on deadspin.com this week said an X-ray on one of Rose's other bats from 1985 indicated it had cork in the barrel. "No, we have not checked it," Heffner said. "We'd rather leave that up to the person who purchases it."
Bochy battles to skip the dip
Giants skipper Bruce Bochy has been waging an ongoing battle to kick a 40-year habit: Chewing tobacco. He thought he had conquered the beast at last, then the Giants began to struggle and the manager quickly went back to the small round tin.
Bochy has been dipping since he was 18. "It's tough, man," he said of quitting. "You don't know till you've tried it."
Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery is used to Bochy's mood swings when he tries to quit. "He gets grouchy," Flannery said. "This game beats on you so bad that by August you're doing tequila shots, not sleeping and eating late-night cheeseburgers."
Cubs' Lee hits 300th
Chicago's Derrek Lee hit the 300th homer of his career Wednesday, a two-run shot off Milwaukee's Randy Wolf in the fifth inning. Teammate Alfonso Soriano, with 299 homers, can match the feat with his next round-tripper.
Lee became the seventh player to hit his 300th home run while playing for the Cubs, joining Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Ron Cey, Andre Dawson and Sammy Sosa.
Where does she think she is, New York? Oh, wait . . .
Pop music star Lady Gaga was photographed in the Citi Field crowd Thursday, making an obscene gesture during the opener of a day-night doubleheader between the New York Mets and San Diego Padres. It was unclear what prompted the obscene gesture from a luxury suite. The Mets say the singer did not attend the second game. No curtain call? Tough crowd.
A 3-year-old girl whose skull was fractured by a line drive during Dodgers batting practice has been released from the hospital. A statement from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles said Janelle Briseno went home in good condition Thursday after undergoing surgery on Tuesday. . . . Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun will have season-ending shoulder surgery on Tuesday, which will likely finish the veteran's short stint in Milwaukee and maybe his career. Zaun was injured in a plate collision in Washington in April. . . . San Francisco Giants righthander Todd Wellemeyer left Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Reds with a strained right thigh after hitting into a double play with the bases loaded in the top of the third inning. . . . Ron Santo, the former Cubs star and team radio announcer, fell ill and went home instead of calling Thursday's series finale in Milwaukee. The 70-year-old Santo, who has diabetes, was hospitalized in Pittsburgh last week.