Earlier this week Nick Swisher talked about how getting booed by the home crowd at Yankee Stadium really upset him and apparently he wasn’t alone.
John Harper of the New York Daily News spoke to an unnamed Yankees player who claims the booing affected the team’s performance:
I really think the booing spooked a lot of guys. A lot of guys hadn’t been booed before, and they couldn’t believe how nasty it got in the stands. A lot of guys were talking about it in the clubhouse. I was surprised by how much it bothered them. I really don’t think they ever recovered.
Harper indicates that the unnamed player in question was not Swisher.
And the whole “they couldn’t believe how nasty it got in the stands” part is interesting given that Alex Rodriguez has been booed pretty mercilessly at Yankee Stadium on a regular basis for years now. And even beyond A-Rod, the notion that players would be so shocked and shaken by New Yorkers booing them during a poor performance seems … well, let’s say odd.
Also worth noting: While the booing at Yankee Stadium may have “spooked” the Yankees and hurt their performance, they also lost both games in Detroit.
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.