brian wilson getty wide

Prepare for Brian Wilson to sell you Chalupas

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I thought the idea behind those Taco Bell ads with Mariano Rivera from last postseason was pretty clever.  The execution was a bit off — seemed rather local-used-car-ad-quality and Joe Girardi and Rivera are not, alas, a great actors — but the ad was fun, at least before they decided to run it every half inning.

Taco Bell is doing it again this year, but this time they’re going with someone with a few more theatrical bonafides: Brian Wilson.  The description of the ads, sent to me by the ad agency because they want free advertising:

Titled “Closer 2.0, it’s a follow-up to last year’s commercial with the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera and Joe Girardi, where Girardi has to call in Rivera to finish a customer’s XXL Chalupa as it’s too big.  Well: an exact follow-up to last year is the director’s idea for this current spot.  With hair-and-makeup stylists including a woman with a Roman Bacchus-style beard groomer, Wilson’s sense of grandeur leads to other ideas of how the commercial should go, zany ideas that – like the size of the XXL Chalupa – play off of his extra-large personality.

They probably could have just said “Wilson is a big ‘Archer’ fan,” because that’s clearly what he’s going for when he claims to be “Black Ops!”  You can watch two versions of the Wilson ads here plus — if you really, really like Wilson — a making of video here.

Personally, I’ll be at Chipotle. Don’t complain, ad agency. I gave you some exposure for free. If you want me to not say that Chipotle is way better than anything you can get at Taco Bell, you’re gonna have to pay us. This is America and that’s how it works.

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.