UPDATE: It’s Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell. Details here.
8:25 AM: Gloria Allred is someone with whom you’re familiar even if you don’t know it. She’s the extremely high-profile (mostly) civil rights lawyer who will, almost always, land some client or another in connection with whatever massive tabloidy and/or entertainment story is dominating the media at any given time. Whether it’s O.J., Princess Diana, Scott Peterson, Borat our countless other arglebargles or fooforaws, you can bet your bippy Allred is involved somehow, usually with a peripheral character, but not always.
My favorite Allred moment was actually a fictitious one. In a “South Park” episode she represented Big Gay Al when he sued the Boy Scouts for discriminating against homosexuals. Then, when Al tries to drop the lawsuit, she accuses Al himself of being a homophobe. An over-the-top portrayal? Just barely, God love her.
In any event, baseball is going to get all they want of Ms. Allred today, as TMZ is reporting that she’s going to hold a press conference this afternoon in which she’ll accuse a major league coach — identity unknown at the moment — of making anti-gay slurs at a male fan and then, when the man complained about such language being used in front of his nine-year-old daughter, allegedly said “kids don’t f***ing belong at the baseball park.” There were allegedly threats made after that, but I’m sure Allred will explain it in more vivid detail than I could ever hope to.
If true, this could be the most explosive verbal assault from a baseball coach since that reporter asked Tommy Lasorda what he thought of Dave Kingman’s performance.
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.
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.