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May 19, 2009 at 6:30 AM
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Yankees eye retired stadium pieces

NEW YORK, May 19 (UPI) -- The company selling parts of the retired Yankee Stadium in New York said the team's players have shown interest in many of the most prominent items.

"There's been tremendous interest from the players," Brandon Steiner of Steiner Sports, which is handling the sale for owner George Steinbrenner, told the New York Post.

Steiner said Mariano Rivera, the team's closing pitcher since 1997, has his eye on several items from the bullpen, including the bench. He said Rivera, who threw the final victorious pitches in the stadium's last game Sept. 21, will also likely have first choice of whether he wants the rubber from the pitching mound.

Center fielder Bernie Williams has expressed interest in the 408-foot sign that accompanied him in center field, an object Steiner said could sell for up to $25,000.

Johnny Damon, an outfielder for the team, said he wants to buy both of the stadium's foul poles and place them near his Florida home.

"I really wanted both foul poles 'til word leaked out, and now I am not sure it is going to be possible because everyone knows that I want them," Damon said.

Team captain and shortstop Derek Jeter said he wants seats from the stadium as well as a Joe DiMaggio sign hanging above the tunnel to the dugout. Jeter said he touched the sign before every game for good luck.


Couple crossed Atlantic to adopt cat

HARRISON, Mich., May 19 (UPI) -- A London couple said they became so enamored with a cat they saw online that they traveled 3,900 miles to Michigan to adopt him.

Rose and Chris Rasmussen said they were searching for black and white cats online about seven months ago when they came across the adoption ad for Sparky, a cat at the Clare County Animal Shelter in Harrison, Mich., the (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) Morning Sun reported Monday.

The couple said they could have had the feline shipped to his new London home, but during Sparky's required six-month quarantine in Britain after his rabies vaccination the Ramussens decided they should escort the new addition to their family back across the Atlantic in person.

Clare County Animal Control Director Dave Gendregske said staff at the shelter had come to think of Sparky as their unofficial mascot. He said the cat's adoption was a "great conclusion" to his story.

"It's definitely uplifting for us to have these animals adopted," he said. "This was a special adoption."


'Gnomes' invade Chelsea flower show

LONDON, May 19 (UPI) -- Garden gnomes -- figurines traditionally banned from Britain's fabled Chelsea Flower show -- have infiltrated the foliage this year, show organizers said.

"People are being very naughty this year but we will find them out and get rid of (the figurines) by morning," an unidentified member of the show's ruling council told The Times of London in a story published Monday.

One gnome appeared in the display of Jekka McVicar, a member of the ruling council and a gold medal winner 13 times at the show. McVicar said she regretted the stir caused by her figurine -- a tiny fisherman with a rod -- but wouldn't remove him. Rather, she said, she would spirit him away beneath greenery where he couldn't be seen in the show's Grand Pavilion.

"He's not brightly colored," McVicar said. "He's a subtle gnome, though definitely not an upper-class gnome."

The popular show was to be visited by Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family, the Times reported.


President Garfield statue decapitated

HIRAM, Ohio, May 19 (UPI) -- Officials at Ohio's Hiram College said a statue of President James Garfield was decapitated only hours after its dedication ceremony.

The officials said the 95-year-old sandstone statue of the 20th U.S. president, who was assassinated in 1881 before completing a full year in office, was dedicated Thursday at the college's Garfield Institute for Public Leadership and the head of the monument was noticed missing the next morning, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Monday.

College spokesman Shawn Brown said the head could have been removed by hand due to the brittleness of the sandstone used to create the likeness, which school trustee Paul Martin purchased at an auction and donated to the school a few months ago.

Brown said the statue was valued at about $20,000 to $30,000 before the head theft.

Police are investigating the incident.

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