Alas Poor Yorick

A Lehigh Valley IronPigs fan will win an all-expenses paid funeral

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In what is being described as the most valuable fan giveaway in team history, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are going to give one lucky fan an all-expenses-paid funeral at their August 20th game. What you get, courtesy of the the IronPigs and a local funeral home:

  • A casket.
  • Professional services of funeral director and staff.
  • Body removal and preparation (embalming or cremation).
  • Use of facilities and services for viewing (visitation/wake), funeral ceremony, Memorial Service and graveside services.
  • Vehicle to transfer remains to Funeral Home along with Hearse for cemetery transfer.

A memorial company will provide a complimentary headstone and a florist will offer “a casket spray” of flowers, which is an odd way of putting that, but since I have never planned a funeral I guess that’s my problem.  The total value of all of that is said to be $10,000.

How do you win: essay contest! You submit an essay of 200 words or less that describes your “ideal funeral and why you feel you will, eventually, be deserving of the free funeral.” All essays must be received by July 31, 2013 — details at the linked release — and you have to be at the August 20th game to win.

My entry:

Dear IronPigs,

I feel like I deserve the funeral because it is long overdue. I have been dead since October 2011 and my corpse has been rotting in front of everyone for the past two years. It’s really embarrassing. Please allow my mortal remains to finally find a place of rest, preferably at the expense of the an affiliate of the Phillies organization for that is something to which I have become accustomed.

Regards,

Ryan Howard

Shohei Otani may come to the United States after 2017

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Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?

Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.

It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.

Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.

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)
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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.