With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning in a 2-2 ballgame during Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card game between the Orioles and Blue Jays, pinch-hitter Melvin Upton, Jr. appeared to hit an uninteresting inning-ending fly out to left field. Hyun Soo Kim camped under the ball and as the ball was secured in his glove, some small item appeared to land on the turf nearby. As slow motion replay would confirm shortly thereafter, a fan threw a beer can at Kim, attempting to interfere with his ability to make the catch.
Center fielder Adam Jones was livid. Standing next to Kim, he pointed and shouted at the fans (or perhaps the culprit specifically) for their behavior. Security at the Rogers Centre immediately made their way to the seats in left field to determine who threw the can. Meanwhile, Orioles manager Buck Showalter came out to discuss the issue with the umpires. Had Kim not made the catch, one wonders if Upton would have been called out anyway due to fan interference (rule 3.16).
A Cubs fan at Wrigley Field threw a cup of beer at Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino back in 2009. These incidents happen every so often. While it’s easy to castigate the entire Blue Jays fan base for this, every fan base has some percentage of petulant fans.
It’s unfortunate that this happened because Tuesday’s AL Wild Card game has been a good one. As of this writing, it’s still a 2-2 ballgame.
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.