These days, it seems you need a law degree to follow baseball–Barry Bonds goes on trial soon, as does Roger Clemens, the Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez got in trouble last year….just to name a few.
And now comes a lawsuit brought against the New York Yankees’ Triple A affiliate by Brian Bonner, a/k/a “Champ” the mascot. Mr. Bonner claims that, in addition to his administrative duties with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, he also worked as Champ and put in as many as 80 hours a week. And in return the team paid him a salary of $22,000, classified him as a “manager”, and did not pay him time and a half for hours worked over 40 per week. Mr. Bonner claims that he was misclassified and is not a manager. He therefore claims that the team’s failure to pay overtime was a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
If Mr. Bonner is correct that he was misclassified as a manager, the team has some explaining to do. How, exactly, can a mascot be a manager? And, although the New York Times reported that the team disputes the allegations, the team’s website favors Champ: he is quoted as saying that, since joining the team in July, 2010, “I’ve been the hardest working Yankee in the farm system.”