On Friday night, outfielder Matt Kemp completed the first cycle in Padres history, helping his team beat the Rockies at Coors Field. Kemp entered his final at-bat in the top half of the ninth needing a triple for the cycle. Triples are the rarest leg of the cycle.* The once-speedy Kemp used to be good for five-to-seven triples in a given season, but had registered no more than three since 2012 as he’s had a handful of lower-half injuries. The odds were pretty stacked against Kemp tripling.
Kemp didn’t get the memo. With a runner on first base and one out, Kemp drilled a Justin Miller slider to right-center. Center fielder Charlie Blackmon watched the fly ball carom off of the top of the wall and bounce back towards dead center. It was at that point that Kemp’s triple became all but guaranteed. He coasted into third base without a relay throw to complete the first cycle in the 47-year history of the Padres.
Adding even more entertainment value to the feat was listening to the FOX Sports San Diego broadcast team’s enthusiasm. Watch and listen:
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*According to Baseball Reference, a National League game this season has averaged 5.87 singles, 1.65 doubles, 0.90 home runs, and 0.19 triples.
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?