As Amanda Rykoff writes at Awful Announcing today, TBS messed up royally last night.
Rather than show the insane excitement of the PNC Park crowd and give us the player introductions, the national anthem — which was sung by Andrew McCutchen’s mom! — and all of the other pomp and circumstance of the long-awaited return of the playoffs to Pittsburgh, we got studio filler and chatter. Go read her indictment of the proceedings and get mad. And you should be mad, because you missed great stuff.
I’ve been around TV studios a bit in the past couple of years and I understand that it’s hard for that kind of operation to be nimble at times. There are so many moving parts and people to answer to that you can’t just cut away without warning. But here they had warning. Ever since it was known that there would be a playoff game in Pittsburgh, people have been talking about how crazy the scene would be. And TBS thought we’d rather watch people in the studio talking about that crazy scene than actually showing it to us.
Here’s part of it, though. It’s McCutchen’s mom singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
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.