OK, this is a weird one.
George King of the New York Post reports that two Maryland state troopers assigned to the Yankees dugout for Game 1 of the ALDS last night asked Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher for autographs … during the game.
In the ninth inning, to be exact, although it’s unclear if the request was made before, after, or during the Yankees’ five-run outburst.
Jeter was asked afterward if he’d ever experienced something like that before and replied: “What do you think?”
And according to King’s unnamed source Swisher “was livid” about the whole thing. Pretty safe to assume they won’t be in the dugout for Game 2 tonight, although hopefully they’ll at least take the George Costanza “was that wrong?” route just in case.
Between state troopers asking him for autographs and missing Russell Martin’s homer because he was in the bathroom, Jeter had an interesting night at Camden Yards.
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.