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Pirates’, Braves’ benches empty in the first inning


The Pirates’ and Braves’ benches emptied in the bottom of the first inning at SunTrust Park on Monday evening. With a runner on third base and two outs, Pirates starter Joe Musgrove threw a fastball that grazed the uniform of Josh Donaldson. As Donaldson walked to first base, Musgrove appeared to be saying something. Donaldson took exception, turning towards Musgrove while yelling at him. Players spilled onto the field, causing a brief delay in the game.

Donaldson and Musgrove were ejected, as was Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. The Pirates, already short on starting pitching, had to go to the bullpen with two outs in the first inning. Alex McRae took over for Musgrove, striking out Nick Markakis to end the inning.

There is no known preexisting beef between the Pirates and Braves other than the Buccos’ announcer making some regrettable comments about Ronald Acuña Jr. We will likely have to wait until after the game to know exactly what happened. Ostensibly, Musgrove thought Donaldson could’ve gotten out of the way of the pitch, but he wasn’t exactly diplomatic in sharing his opinion.

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.