Not me! I swear! Even though I pretty much agree with everything Off The Bench’s Rick Chandler says in his post today about getting rid of “The Star Spangled Banner” as our national anthem:*
Now, no one loves America more than me, except perhaps Apollo Creed. But I say it may be time to put The Star-Spangled Banner out to pasture, and let another song have its turn as our National Anthem. The SSB is impossible to sing, the lyrics are hard to remember and it’s too long. Also there’s always the chance the Christina Aguilera could get her hands on it again. In the age of micro technology, The Star-Spangled Banneris a papyrus scroll in a clay jar. If I instead sing America the Beautiful or Hail, Columbia or Ain’t That Americaby John Mellancamp, it doesn’t mean that I love the USA any less. I’m still singing, for God’s sake. It’s just different words that mean the same thing.
For me it’s not a matter of aesthetics or what pop singers often do to it before ballgames as much as it’s about what is most laudable about our country. Do we praise the flag itself? That seems narrow. The bombs bursting in air? Beside the point. I’m all about the purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain, so I’d go with “America the Beautiful.”
Well, that and equality and the little guy, but no one would ever go for “This Land is Your Land” once the FOX news people started going on about how it’s a commie anthem.
*No, there’s no baseball content here, but since the Anthem is such a big part of the going to the ballpark experience, it’s fair game. Sort of like the kiss cam.
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.