Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and Red Sox DH David Ortiz made a friendly wager on Saturday night’s divisional playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. Jones sent the challenge to Ortiz on Twitter, suggesting the loser make a $5,000 donation to the winner’s charity and wear the jersey of a player on the winning team. If Jones lost, he would wear a Tom Brady jersey; if Ortiz lost, he would wear a Terrell Suggs jersey.
Ortiz was pretty pumped up during the game, tweeting:
The Patriots outlasted the Ravens, winning by a narrow 35-31 margin. They await the winner of Sunday’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game.
Jones lived up to his end of the bargain. He’ll be making a donation to David Ortiz’s Children’s Fund.
Kudos to both players for using a fun night of football as an opportunity to help out a charity. You can learn more about the David Ortiz Children’s Fund by visiting their website. Jones has worked with the Y of Central Maryland, which you can learn more about here. Jones has also done projects with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore.
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?