The Red Sox couldn’t hold the tie game Daniel Nava generously gave them after the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Will Middlebrooks took over at third base and Xander Bogaerts moved to shortstop in lieu of Stephen Drew. Meanwhile, lefty Craig Breslow toed the rubber to start the inning. Important details.
Matt Carpenter led off with an infield single to Bogaerts. Breslow then threw a fastball just a bit too inside to Carlos Beltran, barely grazing the armor the Cardinals outfielder wears on his elbow, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Red Sox manager John Farrell brought on right-hander Junichi Tazawa to face Matt Holliday, but it went sour quickly. Holliday ripped a double down the left field line. As Nava retrieved the ball in the corner, Carpenter had already scored easily while Beltran motored around third base, scoring just ahead of the relay throw to put the Cardinals up 4-2. Holliday moved to third base on the play at the plate.
Tazawa was able to strike out Yadier Molina and work around a two-out walk of David Freese as Jon Jay flew out to center to end the inning. The Cardinals are six outs away from taking a 2-1 lead in the World Series.
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?