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Minor league umps make more, get a higher per diem than the players

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Minor league umpires have a union and just negotiated a new contract to cover the next five years. In addition to some quality of life things such as hotels with interior access (i.e. no Motel 6s) and family leave, they’re getting pay raises:

The minimum monthly salary for rookie and short-season Class A umpires, which had started at $1,900 under the previous five-year agreement, will rise to $2,000 under the new deal and increase to as much as $2,300 for a fourth-year umpire.

For full-season Class A, the minimum rises from $2,000 to $2,100 and increases to $2,600 by a seventh season. At Double-A, the minimum goes up from $2,300 to $2,500 and rises to $3,100 by a ninth season. At Triple-A, it goes up from $2,600 to $2,900 and rises to $3,900 by a 14th season.

As Ben Badler of Baseball America notes, this is a better deal than minor league players get. Monthly salaries for non-40 man roster players are $1,150 for the short season teams, $1,300 for low A and $1,500 for high A. For players repeating a year at the same level, the salary goes up $50 each year. For AA, the monthly salary is $1,700 and it goes up $100 per month for subsequent years. For AAA, the monthly salary is $2,150 per month and it goes up to $2,400 the second year and $2700 the third year.

Pays to have a union, kids.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).