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ESPN confuses Hank Aaron, Sam Jethroe last night


ESPN had Hank Aaron in the booth last night during the Mets-Braves game. That’s cool. Hank Aaron is a legend, so any time you can talk to him you should do it.

It’s also cool that, on the day before Jackie Robinson Day they talked some about Jackie and his impact with Aaron, who himself played in the Negro Leagues for a spell before joining the Braves.

There was a bit of confusion on ESPN’s part, however, during this portion of the discussion. Note the photo they ran during the segment:

Not great! I didn’t watch the game, but someone on Twitter said that Aaron was asked about the photo and sounded confused when he was asked but refrained from saying “guys, that’s not me” or something that would’ve been hilarious and amazing. You don’t spend as many years as an executive as Aaron has without learning diplomacy I suppose.

I mean, being charitable — and assuming, out of politeness, that this was not one of those “they all look alike” situations — I can maybe begin to understand how this could happen. “Quick, get a photo of Aaron and Jackie!” the producer yelled at the third assistant editor, who was already overworked. Indeed, if you do a Google image search for “Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron” the first thing that comes up is a version of this photo on someone’s Pinterest page that is misidentified as Robinson and Aaron. You’re rushed and you just click a few clicks and — bammo — everyone not watching “Game of Thrones” is subjected to this photo and caption.

One would hope, though, that a massive sports media company employs people on its marquee baseball broadcast who (a) don’t simply do quick Google image searches in order to get graphics for the broadcast; (b) actually know what Hank Aaron looks like; and (c) at least know off the top of their heads that Aaron debuted in the bigs two years after the Braves left Boston for Milwaukee which causes them a moment’s pause before running this pic.

We don’t get everything we hope for, of course.

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.