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Original Issue

Under Review Bernie Goes Easy--Writer is Bidder

Centerfield isn't the only place Bernie Williams can pick it.
Steve Futterman, who writes for Entertainment Weekly and The New
Yorker and is jazz editor at Barnes&, reviews The
Journey Within, the first album from the Yankees star:

Bernie Williams can play guitar, no doubt. He gets around his
acoustic and electric six-strings with facility, producing a
dulcet tone, and he writes appealing melodies eminently easy on
the ears. Alas, there's the rub: His music goes down all too
easy. The Journey Within is a pro forma smooth jazz album,
neither better nor worse than any other that sonically wallpapers
the local fern bar. Not surprisingly, the recording sounds like
a million bucks. Williams surrounds himself with the best session
men money can buy, and a few A-list buddies--banjo player Bela
Fleck, pianist David Benoit--add personality. But Williams's
musical character remains a mystery. A charming solo performance
of Baden Powell's lilting Samba Nova (clocking in at less than
two minutes) is followed by an overwrought rendition of Kansas's
Dust in the Wind, complete with cello to remind you how profound
it is. In all, it's too bad the talented Williams plays like, to
put it in baseball terms, the kind of guy who doesn't want to get
his uniform dirty.

Why pay your reporters when they'll pay you? Three weeks after laid off eight writers, it held an eBay auction for
the chance to cover last Sunday's NASCAR race as a columnist. The
winning bid was $310 by Seattle's Sung-Wei Chen, 30, who didn't
attend the race--he saw it on TV--and hadn't yet filed his story
as of Monday. Coverage of the July 27 Pennsylvania 500 is also
being auctioned. "We're just giving people a forum to express
their views," says spokesman Lou D'Ermillo. --R.D.