The Cubs salvaged their road series against the Rockies, losing 6-5 on Monday and 10-3 on Tuesday, and winning 10-1 on Wednesday. The series had more intrigue that it seems at first glance, however, as the three games featured seven hit batsmen.
Tony Walters was hit on Monday. Kris Bryant was hit twice on Tuesday. Four batters between the two squads were hit on Wednesday. Nolan Arenado was hit on the forearm by a Cole Hamels pitch in the fourth inning and had to leave the game with a contusion. In the top of the seventh, Bryan Shaw hit Hamels. Then, in the top of the eighth, Anthony Rizzo was hit by Phillip Diehl and warnings were issued to both benches. In the bottom of the ninth, Brad Brach hit Wolters, but was not ejected despite the warnings.
The Cubs and Rockies won’t face each other again this season unless it’s in the playoffs. If that should happen, Arenado says “it would be a spicy series,” per Nick Groke of The Athletic.
Last year, the Cubs lost the NL Wild Card Game to the Rockies 2-1 in 13 innings, with Wolters knocking in the game-winning run.
Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.
The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.
Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.
While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.
Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?