Things you can totally miss even if you do nothing but read crap about baseball all day, even in the winter: Major League Baseball has a new rule that limits batters’ walkup music to no more than 15 seconds.
I learn this by reading about Shane Victorino’s disappointment with the new rule over at WEEI. He has taken to using Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” in which the crowd booms in with “Every little things/gonna be alright!” Which comes way past the 15 second mark. Victorino thinks the rule is taking away from the fan experience and that it could impact batters’ rhythms and things.
I’ll admit: being at Game 6 of the World Series and listening to the crowd sing along with Shane and Bob was kind of cool. Maybe even chill-inducing. But (a) I imagine that effect wears off after more than a game, especially when the games aren’t last-game-of-the-World-Series intense; and (b) if everyone did that kind of stuff games would take even longer than they already do.
The lesson: go with punk rock, kids. Those songs are all short and sweet and will get things moving along while still pumping people up.
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.