My friend Stephen Silver has lived in both Boston and Philly, and is intimately familiar with the respective sports scenes. And he writes something today that is likely to make the fans in both of those cities mad:
… as someone who has lived in both cities and has a lot of family and friends in them, I can say confidently: the Red Sox and Phillies’ fan communities have way more in common than either would probably like to admit. In fact, it’s hard to think of two fan bases in American sports that are more alike.
He goes on to explain. And it’s pretty persuasive. Maybe the most persuasive part is when he says “Both cities love Curt Schilling and hate J.D. Drew, and both drove manager Terry Francona out of town …”
Jeez, what is wrong with you Boston and Philly people?
UPDATE: This ran on NBC SportsTalk last week. How appropriate:
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?
Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.
It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.
Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.
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.