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.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.
Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.
According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.
Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.
Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.
Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.