Tonight’s Caught Looking, airing at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, goes behind the scenes at last weekend’s Nationals-Braves series. Spoiler alert! The Braves swept the series.
But Caught Looking is about more than the game action:
… the episode features compelling in-game audio, highlighted by wireless microphones worn by Braves third baseman Chipper Jones and Braves pitcher Kris Medlen. The episode also features in-depth interviews with Nationals manager Davey Johnson, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, as well as profiles of Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and third baseman Ryan Zimmermann. Off the field, a camera crew spent time with Jones as he met Emily Wynn, a huge Braves fan who barehanded Jones’ walk off home run on September 2nd. The band OAR is also featured, as they take in Saturday’s game and prepare for a postgame concert that night.
Check it out tonight at 9PM on the NBC Sports Network.
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?