Phillies fans AP

The Nationals’ “Take back the Park” thing turns stupid

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Remember how the Nationals launched an initiative to keep Phillies fans from taking over their ballpark during Nats-Phillies series?  How they won’t sell tickets to people not from D.C., Virginia or Maryland?

I think that’s kind of pointless and silly because (a) it’s not like the secondary ticket market doesn’t exist; and (b) money is money and last I checked the Nats weren’t filling their park with locals anyway.  If they want Phillies fans to be drowned out, win ballgames and sell more season tickets. But whatever, it’s their show, and if they want to say no to someone when they go to buy a ticket, it’s their choice.

But it’s another thing altogether, it seems to me, to renege on tickets they already agreed to sell to Philly people before the policy was put in place. And that appears to be what they have done.

Seems that in December a Philly company called Integrated Project Services, Inc. contacted the Nationals for a group outing, put in order and paid a deposit which guaranteed the tickets.  They were supposed to get final confirmation of where their seats were and stuff in January. Then:

It was almost the end of January, and neither Kate or Chuck had heard a thing from the Nationals about their tickets. “we had tried to contact the Nationals because we thought by the end of January we were suppoesd to know,” McCorriston said. “So we called and emailed and called and called and emailed and called, this had been going on for two and a half weeks, and they finally just notified us and said ‘well sorry, we have to take back our park, you know, you can’t have the tickets, there aren’t any tickets left, and we’ll refund your deposit. That was it.”

Just an idiotic business decision to address a problem — too many Phillies fans in the park — that, while slightly embarrassing, is not exactly the sort of thing that a sophisticated business should really care about.  And it’s the sort of thing that could lead to a lawsuit, so that’s great too.

Win some baseball games, Nationals. That’s how you take back your ballpark.

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.