MLB’s home run record could fall

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This year’s 5,000th home run will be hit tonight. We currently stand at 4,990 homers this year with three weeks to go. That’s already the highest total in any year since 2009, and we still have one-eighth of the season to complete. The overall home run record is within reach.

I’ve been tracking this on twitter for a while now. Here are our biggest home run seasons of all-time:

2000: 5,692
1999: 5,528
2001: 5,458
2004: 5,451
2006: 5,386

When I first added it up on July 27, we were on pace for 5,587 homers, which would have been the second highest total of all-time. On Aug. 23, the pace was up to 5,673. Today, we’re at 5,677, leaving us just a tad short of a new record.

Scoring isn’t up as much as homers. Right now, we’re averaging 8.99 runs per game, which is the highest mark since 2009, but still considerably lower than what we saw from the mid-90s to the mid-00s. We’re on pace for 21,846 runs scored, which is up 1,200 runs from last year and 2,000 runs from 2014, but still 3,000 runs lower than the 1999-2000 peak.

One thing that might seem like an oddity is that the home run record could fall without a single 50-homer guy this year. Mark Trumbo is the only player currently at 40, with 41, and he’s probably not hitting nine homers in three weeks. The year the record was set, though, featured no one with more than 50 homers. Sammy Sosa led the majors with 50 on the button in 2000, followed by Barry Bonds at 49 and Jeff Bagwell and Troy Glaus with 47 apiece.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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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.