Nothing like a little late-season drama in the AL Central.
Yesterday afternoon White Sox ace Chris Sale plunked Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez with a pitch, clearing the benches.
Sale indicated that he believed Martinez, who’s hitting .334 this season, had someone in the outfield with binoculars relaying signs to him. He even made a binocular gesture with his hands circling his eyes, which Ian Kinsler of the Tigers later mocked.
(Al Beaton of the Tigers blog Bless You Boys has a good recap, including screen shots.)
Then after the game Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he felt Sale hit Martinez on purpose and called the whole notion “weak.” And so naturally today White Sox manager Robin Ventura fired back at him, saying:
He’s not weak and we don’t do weak things. And Chris doesn’t do weak things. He [Ausmus] should probably worry about his own team and invest a little more in his own team. Don’t worry about my team.
Adding to the drama? Ventura and the White Sox finish the season with a four-game series against the Royals, who’re trying to overtake Ausmus and the Tigers for the AL Central title.
Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.
Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.
Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.
As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.