The caped gentleman in the corner of this post is “Champ,” the mascot of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. His job: to act like a loon, cause trouble, make kids laugh, make crowds cheer and to do a lot of general good will creation. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, however, allegedly consider him to be an executive of some kind. At least when it comes to paying overtime:
A Pennsylvania man who worked as the mascot for a New York Yankees minor league team claims his former employer violated worker protection laws.
Brian Bonner was laid off last month from his job as Champ. He’s suing the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, claiming they improperly classified him as a manager to avoid paying him overtime.
I have no idea, obviously, if there’s anything to this. I do know a lot of people, however, who are now classified as management for jobs that, 20 years ago, were never considered such a thing.
Empowerment or exploitation? I guess the answer to that depends on how managerial you consider doing things like straight clerical or assembly work. Or, you know, shooting t-shirts into crowds with canons and riding ATVs around warning tracks.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.