Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun clubbed an Aaron Harang breaking ball way over the fence in left-center at Miller Park on Sunday, staking the Brewers to a 6-0 lead over the Phillies in the fifth inning. It’d help the Brewers complete a win and seal a seven-game season-sweep against the Phillies.
The grand slam was also the 251st home run of Braun’s career, tying him with Robin Yount for the most in Brewers history. Yount, however, needed 12,249 plate appearances to get there while Braun needed only 5,138.
Watch Braun make some history:
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Braun, 31, has hit well for the Brewers this season, batting .272/.340/.491 with 21 home runs and 69 RBI. Earlier this summer, he made the 2015 National League All-Star team for the first time since 2012.
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?