Great moments in public relations.
There’s a bar in Pittsburgh called The Stroll Inn, and the other day they launched a promotion that said “If the Pirates lose, you win” and offered a discount of a nickel on a pitcher of beer after every Pirates loss. Funny!
But not to the Pirates. Apparently a couple of Pirates employees sent emails around after hearing of this, suggesting that Pirates employees, friends and family boycott the Stroll Inn, saying “an occasional joke and jab is expected here and there, but to create business by ripping on the home team is ridiculous and in my opinion distasteful.”
The email thing made its way to a local news station, who did a story on it, and that prompted Pirates President Frank Coonelly to contact the owner of the bar and, according to her anyway, scolded her for taking this to the local news. She said that Coonelly was “very cold and not very nice.” Which, I will say, is a description that a couple of people I know who know Coonelly may not be shocked to hear. Smart guy, I’m told. Very competent in his areas of expertise. But not a master of interpersonal relationships.
All of this is blowing up bigger now than it ever would have, of course. Over at Yahoo! Jeff Passan has an extended take of the lunacy of it all.
The biggest takeaway: dudes, if you’re selling a product and it’s being linked to inexpensive beer, just go with it, because the goodwill will flow in your direction eventually.
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.