Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge was hyped up even more than hometown hero Giancarlo Stanton heading into Monday’s Home Run Derby at Marlins Park in Miami. And, boy, did he ever live up to the hype.
Judge matched up against Marlins first baseman Justin Bour in the first round and it looked like he’d have trouble advancing after Bour smacked 22 home runs. Judge tied Bour’s total of 22 homers just as regulation time expired, then hit his go-ahead 23rd home run with his 30 seconds of bonus time to advance into the second round. One of Judge’s homers went 501 feet.
Judge took on Dodgers phenom Cody Bellinger in the second round. Bellinger was able to hit 12 home runs, a very respectable total, but everyone knew it wasn’t enough to keep Judge out of the finals. Judge hit his 13th home run with one minute remaining on the clock. This time, he hit four home runs that went 500 feet or further.
In the final around, Miguel Sano was able to overcome fatigue enough to hit 10 homers. Judge tied Sano’s total with 2:18 on the clock. He hit his 11th and Derby-winning homer at 2:02. None of his homers in the finals went 500 feet, though.
The relatively new format of the Derby makes it difficult to compare, but Judge’s performance may very well have been the most dominant performance in a Home Run Derby. It didn’t seem like any of his opponents had a chance.
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.