If you happened to miss last night’s melee at Camden Yards, click here. Orioles shortstop Manny Machado wasn’t happy that Royals starter Yordano Ventura pitched inside to him, so after flying out in the bottom of the second inning on Tuesday night, he had a few words with the right-hander. In their next meeting, in the bottom of the fifth, Ventura drilled Machado in the ribs with a 99 MPH fastball. Machado charged the mound and punched Ventura in the face.
As Craig illustrated earlier today, this kind of behavior is Ventura’s standard operating procedure. Ventura lost the benefit of the doubt due to previous incidents in which he was a hothead. There aren’t many outside the state of Missouri who are willing to go to bat for Ventura’s behavior.
Unsurprisingly, one of the few people willing to stand up for Ventura is manager Ned Yost. Via Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star:
Yost added that Ventura is still the same “fearless” pitcher he was back in 2014 when he pitched Game 6 of the World Series for the Royals, going seven scoreless innings to force a Game 7. Ventura has struggled this year, however, posting a 5.32 ERA with a 44/35 K/BB ratio in 66 innings. His walk rate is way up, lending credence to the defense that those inside pitches to Machado had more to do with poor command than anything else.
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.