Royals grab early lead in Game 2 of ALCS against the Orioles

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After defeating the Orioles in 10 innings in Game 1 of the ALCS last night, the Royals are off to a quick start this afternoon.

Bud Norris caught a rocket line drive off the bat of Alcides Escobar to begin the ballgame, but he then gave up an opposite-field single to Nori Aoki before Lorenzo Cain doubled into the right-field corner to put runners at second and third. Eric Hosmer then got jammed on a pitch and broke his bat in the process, but he managed to drop a ball in shallow left field just beyond the reach of a diving J.J. Hardy. Two runs scored on the play thanks to a magnificent read by Cain.

Norris got Billy Butler to ground out to first and struck out Alex Gordon looking to avoid further damage, but the Orioles trail 2-0 going into the bottom of the first inning in Baltimore. Yordano Ventura is on the hill for the Royals.

Nationals back off of minor league stipend cut

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Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.

For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.

The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.

The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:

One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?

In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.