Tiffany Simons

Tiffany Simons on “Star Wars”

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As I’ve mentioned before, the best part of HBT Extra is when Tiffany Simons and I chat prior to taping. And, from time to time — and with Tiffany’s permission — I like to share some of the gems from those conversations. Today’s concerns “Star Wars.” And we got two gems, actually.

First, Tiffany recently interviewed R.A. Dickey and, later in the day, was to interview knuckleball legend Charlie Hough.  In preparation for the Hough interview, she asked Dickey to describe the nature of his relationship with Hough:

Tiffany: “He said ‘Charlie is like the Jedi to my … something.'”

Me: “Padawan?”

Tiffany: “Yes, that’s it. I have no idea what that meant.”

I don’t think this reflects poorly on Tiffany at all, by the way. Because even if you’ve seen “Star Wars,” “padawan” is a word that could elude you if you’re not obsessive about it, if for no other reason than I think it doesn’t appear until the prequels, and those stunk.

No, I’m more amazed by Dickey here.  In his recent memoir her painfully recounted the mistake he made several years ago when he had an extramarital affair.  The amazing part is that a guy who casually throws out Jedi-Padawan analogies like this was able to woo two women at various points in his life. Hope for nerds everywhere, right?

The second gem speaks more directly to Tiffany:

“My friends and I saw “Spaceballs” before we saw “Star Wars.” And we didn’t even know “Star Wars” existed when we saw “Spaceballs.”  So when we saw “Star Wars,” we were all like ‘this sucks, “Spaceballs” was way better.'”

Do with that information what you will.

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.