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Ian Kinsler to play for Team Israel in the Olympics

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Right now it’s unclear whether the Tokyo Olympics will go off on schedule — here’s the latest on that, by the way — but if they are played, this summer or at some later date, a famous, recently-retired big leaguer will be suiting up for Team Israel: Ian Kinsler.

That’s the report from The Jerusalem Post, which called Kinsler “the greatest Jewish second baseman of all time.” I think that’s a pretty dang fair claim. A lot of people believe that Rod Carew is Jewish thanks to the shoutout to him Adam Sandler’s ‘Chanukah Song” but, despite the fact that he married a Jewish woman and raised his children Jewish he did not actually convert. Besides, he played 54 more games as a first baseman than as a second baseman, so I give the nod to Kinsler anyway.

Anyway, the news was subsequently confirmed by this video from Israel Baseball:

Israel is one of six teams that will play in baseball’s return to Olympic competition following a multi-Olympic hiatus.

Kinsler announced his retirement from baseball in December following a 14-year career in which he made four All-Star teams, won two Gold Gloves, and put together a career line of .269/.337/.440 with 257 home runs and 243 stolen bases for the Rangers, Tigers, Angels, Red Sox and Padres.

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.