The Padres came back to beat the Dodgers on a crazy play Saturday, tying the game on a steal of home with two outs in the top of the ninth and scoring the go-ahead run on the same sequence.
The Padres had runners on the corners with no outs before Kenley Jansen got a strikeout and a pop out in a 6-5 game. Will Venable had stolen second in the meantime, putting two men in scoring position for Alexi Amarista. During Amarista’s at-bat, Jansen was kicking at the mound and not really paying attention to the runner, allowing Everth Cabrera to take off from third. Jansen noticed in time to potentially make a play, but the throw sailed over the head of catcher A.J. Ellis, who was also very late to react.
Here’s the link to the video.
The third man caught napping in the sequence was home plate umpire Greg Gibson. He initially called Cabrera out at home, even though Ellis never so much as touched the ball, which was sitting by the backstop. Gibson changed his call, and Ellis, again apparently still trying to figure out what was going on, finally gathered the ball too late to prevent Venable from scoring the go-ahead run. It didn’t help that Jansen was slow to cover the plate.
In the end, it was simply a colossal failure from the Dodgers’ battery, though ansen deserves most of the blame. Give credit to Cabrera, who was in the game as a pinch-runner. He’s now 16-for-16 stealing bases this year. After Amarista was retired on a groundout, Huston Street went on to pitch a scoreless bottom of the ninth, giving the Padres a 7-6 victory.
Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.
The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.
Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.
While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.
Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?