Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. broke Josh Hamilton’s Home Run Derby record for most home runs in a single round, crushing 29 dingers ahead of Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman in their bracket matchup. Hamilton memorably hit 28 in the first round in the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium. It was thought to be an unassailable record, so much so that the Rangers tweeted this out:
Guerrero, the No. 8 seed, made it look easy, hitting tape-measure homers to left and left-center field at Progressive Field in Cleveland, finishing regulation time with 24 dingers. He easily unlocked 30 extra seconds on account of hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. He, in fact, reached as far as 478 feet. With his bonus time, Guerrero added five dingers for 29 total, setting the new single-round record.
Best of luck to Chapman. That’s a heck of an act to have to follow.
Update: Guerrero followed up with an additional 29 homers, kicking off the second round in his bracket matchup with Joc Pederson. So he tied his own record. Ridiculous.
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?