ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 16:  Umpire Larry Vanover calls a strike as the Tampa Bay Rays play against the Texas Rangers September 16, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 6 - 2. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
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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.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.