A-Rod speaks to kids about drug use? Fabulous idea!

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Class, settle down. We have a guest speaker here today:

New York Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez made an unexpected visit to 500 students at a Baltimore County school to deliver an anti-steroid message Tuesday, months after admitting publicly that he used performance-enhancing drugs earlier in his career.

At the time of his admission, Rodriguez vowed to turn his past transgressions into a positive lesson for young athletes, and he appears to be attempting to uphold that promise by discreetly speaking to select students this season. It’s part of the agreement, however, that the talks not be covered by the news media.

After previously addressing groups in New York City and Texas, he presented his anti-steroids message at Milford Mill Academy on Tuesday, hours before Rodriguez’s Yankees played the Orioles at Camden Yards.

In his speech he said that it felt “pretty darn good and liberating” to finally be telling the truth, and that doing so “is very important to me professionally and spiritually.”

Imagine how good and liberated he’d feel if he told the complete truth:

“Kids, steroid use did no harm to, and probably helped me build a career that will earn me more than a quarter billion dollars. While, occasionally, people write mean things about me, I have suffered zero in the way of actual punishment for it. What’s more, my fame and celebrity now has me bedding Hollywood starlets.

“But totally, dudes, just say no.  Thanks. Are there cookies? I was told there would be cookies.”

Call me crazy, but maybe schools should have people whose lives were actually harmed by drugs to come in and speak to the kids.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.