I wish I had taken a screen cap of it last night, but believe me, the first version of the AP game story from the Red Sox-Royals game called Billy Butler “the Royals’ portly designated hitter.” Sometime overnight it was amended:
The lumbering designated hitter’s three-run shot in the eighth inning Tuesday night boosted the Kansas City Royals a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox …
Not sure how I feel about that. “Portly” isn’t the kindest thing to call a guy, but there is a weird dignity to it. Winston Churchill was portly, after all. He owned that look. The young Orson Welles had a bit of portly heft to him but looked like a million bucks. A portly man, properly attired, can be quite a nice package of goods assuming he is likewise charming, confident, funny and kind of spirit.
But “lumbering?” Ah. Denotes more than a physical shortcoming, suggesting a laziness in one’s character. A lumbering man all but requires a tuba soundtrack as he attempts to run. A portly man can still be sneaky-fast.
I think I’d rather be called portly, if I had to choose, not lumbering. I’m not sure I’m in the majority here. I think more people would pick “lumbering” due to the suggestion of movement. But I gotta go with my, well, gut here.
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.