A great story over at SB Nation by David Davis. It’s about the 1988 Dodgers and what they were before and since. It’s about his sister’s suicide just before the World Series that year which caused him to miss it. It’s also about the ball Kirk Gibson hit into the right field pavilion off Dennis Eckersley, and what became of it.
What did become of it? No one knows:
What’s also been lost is Gibson’s home run ball. Despite the TV coverage and the thousands of eyewitnesses, the ball never surfaced. It is the missing talisman, the Rosebud of Chavez Ravine. Its absence has signaled the end of the City of Angels’ aura that once protected the Dodgers franchise.
There are those who have claimed ownership, but the ball has still not been found and, even if it was, its authenticity would be questioned.
But as Davis’ story makes clear, the ball is just the MacGuffin in this story. For him it will always be tied with his sister’s death. For Gibson it will always be a part of the greatest moment of his career. For millions of us who watched that game it will count as one of the all-time baseball highlights we’ll ever see. And the fact that the ball itself is nowhere to be found means very little.
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.