Playoff weather in Minnesota: what are we dealing with here?

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It took less than ten hours from the time the Twins clinched last night until I saw the first blogger make a joke about how funny it will be to see World Series games snowed out in Minnesota.  And really, we’ve been hearing that ever since the first roofless ballpark plans were drawn up for Target Field.

Is there reason for concern? Does Joe Mauer have to worry more about snowblindness than his wonky knee? Will Delmon Young be able to field his position with a North Face Summit Series 800-fill goose down jacket under his jersey?

We’ve covered this before, but let me reiterate: No. There’s no reason to worry. No reason over an above the worry we should always have about such things, anyway. Sure, freak weather can happen in the fall in the upper Midwest, but it can happen anywhere, as the Phillies and Rays learned a couple of years ago.  But the average highs and lows in Minneapolis for late October and early November — while a tad chillier than we’re used to in the playoffs — are not so far removed from the norms in New York or Philly that we should make a big deal about it.

National Weather Service data from 1971-2000 reveals the average highs in Minneapolis range between 57 and 46 degrees for the period covering October 20th through November 5th. Average lows: 32-37.  Average precipitation of any kind .07 inches. The same numbers in Philly: highs 64-58; lows 47-43, precip .08-.10. New York: highs 63-57; lows 49-45, precip..10-.12. Denver: highs 64-56; lows 34-27, precip .03-.04.

Yes, it’s colder in Minneapolis than it is in New York and Philly, but it’s not so extreme that we should freak out about it. If the Rockies make it in we should worry about the Denver weather far more, I think. Partially because of the cold, but also because we all can remember some October Denver Broncos Monday Night Football game going on in a blizzard.

Snow could happen, because snow can always happen. But there’s a decent chance that we’ll get some run of the mill nice fall days turning into chilly, but not unpleasantly chilly, fall nights, even if the Twins make the World Series.

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.