Jason Cabrera became a manager of a Texas fast-food restaurant just one week after his 19th birthday. He started out buttering toast and washing dishes for $9.25 per hour, and now earns $50,000 a year in his senior role.
The young manager took Insider through his average workday, from making a lemonade batch at 8 a.m. to checking in with some of the 22 employees he manages.
At 8 a.m., Cabrera gets into the restaurant before his team arrives and makes a big batch of lemonade for customers.
By 10.30 a.m., all team members have arrived – Cabrera usually manages about eight per shift – and the restaurant is open for its first customers.
Cabrera said that managing 22 people, all aged between 16 and 21 years, forced him to mature quickly.
“When I started working I was still a young kid that liked to have fun,” he said. “That was the problem. I had too much fun but I guess as I started getting into the role and whatnot, I matured so quickly without really noticing.”
From 10.30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Cabrera is constantly moving, checking in with his team, and dealing with guests.
Asked whether he finds being on his feet all day tiring, Cabrera said that he doesn’t “feel anything” because he’s “really young.”
“Probably once I, you know, start getting older then I’ll start having back problems,” he said.
On Tuesdays, when Layne’s offers a range of meal deals, including discounts of up to 20%, the restaurant is usually busier.
Cabrera said he particularly enjoys these days because he gets to interact with more guests.
“It’s something I get to look forward to every week,” he said. “I really love seeing our parking lot filled with a bunch of cars.”
Cabrera said he enjoys dealing with “shocked” customers who asked to see the manager and don’t expect to see “a 19-year-old kid running a whole store.” Several customers have asked him for his age.
“I love seeing the reaction. It’s really funny,” he said. “They start complimenting me and just letting me know, hey man, when I was your age I wasn’t doing any of that stuff.”
At 3 p.m., Cabrera retires to the restaurant’s office to do paperwork, which includes calculating labor costs, ordering inventory, and tallying up sales and drive-through times.
“I crunch those numbers down every week. So the next week we have our corporate meetings here at the office and we go over those numbers,” he said.
Baltimore Orioles slugger Trey Mancinis is the latest sports star to release their own digital collectible tokens. The first baseman’s non-fungible tokens will be up for sale on Monday to raise money for his cancer charity since he beat the disease earlier this year.
The NFTs will go up for sale on the Ureeqa platform. The professional baseball player has partnered with Ben Armstrong, a TikTok influencer, who announced the sale in a tweet on Friday.
“This drop is extremely important to me,” Mancini said in a statement quoted by Coindesk. “Not only is it my first experience with NFTs, but the cause is near and dear to my heart.”
NFTs are essentially digital collectibles that represent real-life assets such as artwork, music, videos or even virtual land or animals. Each is unique and is verifiable and cannot be exchanged for another, unlike a cryptocurrency.
Mancinis has joined the plethora of celebrities who are using NFTs to raise money such as artist and producer Jay Z, rapper Ja Rule, entrepreneur Rob Gronkowski, actor Lindsay Lonhan and singer Katy Perry. What separates Mancini from the rest is the fact that his money will go to charity.
“All proceeds go to his foundation working to support cancer research and those who face serious illness and hardship,” Amstrong wrote on Twitter.
Mancini’s career began in 2016 and was interrupted when he was diagnosed with colon cancer last year. This year, he beat the disease and has dedicated his charity, the Trey Mancini Foundation, to raise funds to fight colon cancer.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Friday said that Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia over its controversial new voting law is “likely” the start of more actions taken against the state.
“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, the removal of the MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.”
She added: “Boycotts in GA will hit the metro Atlanta hardest and have a ripple effect across the state. Small businesses, corporations that support our communities, and everyday working people will suffer. It is not too late to right this sinking ship.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed on Friday that the decision to move the All-Star Game and MLB Draft was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” he said in a statement. “Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
Since the law’s passage on March 25, major corporations, including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola under pressure from politicians and activists, have more forcefully come out against its restrictive measures.
The conservative-backed law tightens election rules in the state by limiting drop boxes, strengthening voter identification requirements, blocking the usage of mobile voting vans, and even banning water and food from being distributed to voters waiting in line, among other measures.
GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed the bill into law, flatly rejects claims that it reinforces voter suppression and said that the law makes it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
Kemp continued to express his displeasure with the situation on Twitter, lashing out at prominent Democrats.
“This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies from [President] Joe Biden and [former Georgia state House Minority Leader] Stacey Abrams about a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections,” he wrote. “I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections.”
Abrams, who was narrowly defeated by Kemp in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race and could potentially run against the incumbent governor in 2022, said on Friday that she was “disappointed” by the move but was “proud” of the MLB’s support of voting rights.
“Like many Georgians, I am disappointed that the MLB is relocating the All-Star game; however, I commend the players, owners and League commissioner for speaking out,” she said in a statement. “As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs. Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states. We should not abandon the victims of GOP malice and lies – we must stand together.”
Former President Barack Obama on Saturday praised the decision, making a nod to the late baseball icon Hank Aaron, who faced racial threats throughout his professional baseball career.
“Congratulations to MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens,” he wrote. “There’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example.”
As of Saturday, MLB has not revealed the new host city for the 2021 All-Star Game.
In a statement, Trump said: “Baseball is already losing tremendous numbers of fans, and now they leave Atlanta with their All-Star Game because they are afraid of the Radical Left Democrats who do not want voter I.D., which is desperately needed, to have anything to do with our elections.”
He added: “Boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections. Are you listening Coke, Delta, and all!”
Coca-Cola and Delta, which both have operations in Georgia, had spoken out against the state’s law.
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said the company was “disappointed.” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the Georgia law was “unacceptable and does not match Delta’s Values.”
In asking fans to boycott baseball, Trump joined other conservative lawmakers and commentators calling for punitive measures against the league.
Rep. Jeff Duncan on Friday said he’d instructed his staff to draft legislation to remove a federal antitrust exemption for the league. He said MLB officials had sought to “undermine election integrity laws.”
“Why does @MLB still have antitrust immunity?” Senator Mike Lee said on Twitter. “It’s time for the federal government to stop granting special privileges to specific, favored corporations – especially those that punish their political opponents.”
Senator Ted Cruz shared Lee’s statement, adding: “EXACTLY right.”
President Joe Biden earlier in the week had voiced support for moving the game, which was scheduled for July 13. Biden called the new voting law “Jim Crow on steroids.”
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” said Rob Manfred, MLB commissioner, in a statement.
The Atlanta Braves in a statement said it was “deeply disappointed” by the league’s decision to relocate.
“Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision,” the team’s statement said.
“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly,” Biden said to ESPN’s Sage Steele during an interview. “I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They’re leaders.”
The All-Star Game is set to occur on July 13 at the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park.
Biden was critical of the divisive Georgia voting law, which was signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in late March, during the interview with ESPN.
“Look at what’s happened across the board. The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports, and it’s just not right,” Biden said. “This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing in Georgia and 40 other states.”
MLB players would like to discuss moving the event out of Georgia in the wake of the recent laws, but no conversations with the league have occurred yet, according to MLB Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark.
“Players are very much aware,” Clark told The Boston Globe via ESPN. “As it relates to the All-Star Game, we have not had a conversation with the league on that issue. If there is an opportunity to, we would look forward to having that conversation.”
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who is set to manage the National League All-Star team, told reporters he might not participate in the event if it is played in Georgia.
“I will certainly consider it,” Roberts said. “I don’t know enough about it right now. But when you’re restricting – trying to restrict – American votes, American citizens, that’s alarming to me to hear it. As we get to that point and we know more, I will make a better decision. But I do think that if it gets to that point, it will certainly be a decision I have to make personally.”
The new law expands early voting, but also requires voters to present identification to vote absentee, places limitations on the use of ballot drop boxes, and condenses the period of time between general elections and runoffs, among other provisions that critics say are restrictive.
Kemp has pushed back against the president’s criticism of the law, stating there is “nothing ‘Jim Crow'” about it.
“It is obvious that neither President Biden nor his handlers have actually read SB 202,” Kemp said. “As Governor, I won’t back down from keep Georgia elections secure, accessible, and fair.”
From living long-term in a hotel abroad to turning hotel ballrooms into practice facilities, athletes and the people around them have been getting especially creative to stay safe during the age of COVID-19.
This is the first time in history where an entire NCAA March Madness tournament will be held in one city- Indianapolis – and there are plenty of protocols in place for both the hotels and the athletes to ensure it’s a safe and successful experience.
Phil Ray is the general manager of the JW Marriott Indianapolis, one of a handful of hotels in a ‘bubble’ which will be hosting teams and athletes for March Madness.
“We’re focused on taking care of the guests, and taking care of each other,” said Ray. “What we always say is it’s like they’re on a business trip, and our purpose is to take care of them so that everything goes well.”
During the weekends in summer 2020, the JW started to host sports tournaments as part of a bubble alongside a group of local hotels that could offer over 2,000 rooms with shared parking garages and a direct connection to the convention center. There, athletes were fed, housed, and quarantined for their games.
After this experience, Ray says the city is well-prepared to host March Madness. “We’re continuing to work through all the obstacles we’ll face to host the entire tournament. The cleanliness and the process of cleaning for the most part is consistent with what we’re always doing, just higher profile.”
The teams that make the final four can stay for up to three weeks in Indianapolis.
“We want to make sure they’re comfortable, and that the food doesn’t become tiresome, and that they’re going to be excited about being here,” said Ray. The manager added he’s confident that the tournament will run smoothly and safely.
A season abroad
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Nate Pearson spent the 2020 MLB season living out of the The Marriott at Lecom Harbor Center in Buffalo, New York, since the Blue Jays couldn’t play in their home city in Toronto, Canada.
“I tried to make my hotel space feel more like home by unpacking my suitcase and putting my things into the drawers,” he said. “I unpacked and made sure my clothes were away, hung up my shirts, and put my suitcase somewhere that I couldn’t see it, so it didn’t feel like I was living somewhere temporarily.”
Pearson says the hardest part of living in the hotel from July to October was the isolation and being away from family. Although he spent time with his teammates training and playing, Pearson says they didn’t hang out off the field due to safety rules.
“We didn’t get to go out or hang out in each other’s rooms. I really like getting to spend time with my teammates, and not getting to do that outside of the field was hard. But we made the most of it.”
For fellow athletes living at a hotel or resort property long-term during COVID, Pearson says to bring “whatever your ‘thing’ is with you.”
“Whether it’s video games, reading, or watching TV – make sure you have the access to that,” he said. “And buckle up – it’s much more of a mental grind than a physical grind. Don’t be afraid to call people when you need to talk to someone. If you need to step outside and go for a walk by yourself, do it. Being outside definitely helps you mentally.”
Hosting a 39-person NBA entourage
Non-athletes similarly adjusted their work lives to accommodate sports during the pandemic. Beth Allen, director of sales and marketing at The Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina, was in charge of hosting the Charlotte Hornets in a bubble to prepare for the 2020-21 NBA season.
The Hornets ‘bubbled’ in two freestanding buildings adjacent to the main hotel. The Lodge features 35 spacious rooms, and The Cottage has four king bedrooms with private bathrooms, as well as a dedicated kitchen, dining, living room, and laundry space.
In preparation, Allen says property was deep-cleaned and fully sanitized from top to bottom, and a washer and dryer and additional golf carts were brought in for the players to get around.
The players enjoyed their own private parking, tennis courts to practice on, and a golf course for outdoor space to exercise. Allen says the 39-person group of players, coaches, administrative staff, and physical therapists was on-site for two weeks total, from the end of September through early October of 2020.
She says the players were gracious, friendly, and quiet – even if they ordered room service much more than the average guest.
“There were certain times of day we knew room service was going to get an onslaught of calls – so we started to adjust our staffing to accommodate. The team was also really good about being flexible and changing with us as the days went by – because every day is different.”
As a hotel director, Allen says the experience gave her valuable insights on hosting sports teams during the pandemic.
“Hotels are having to get creative, be flexible, and think outside of the box. It was a team effort and a bonding experience behind the scenes,” she said.
Turning a ballroom into a practice court
The Toronto Raptors basketball team also moved out of Canada during the pandemic to Tampa, Florida to play their 2020-21 season. They built a makeshift practice facility at the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street.
The property was still under construction last year, says general manager Ron McAnaugh, when they made a deal with the NBA team to offer the unfinished ballroom as a space for shooting hoops in isolation.
The team has been on-site using the hotel as a practice facility since the beginning of December and is committed to the space through March.
McAnaugh says the Raptors brought everything with them to set up shop in the Marriott, including hard floors and baskets, while Marriott staff built a full gym, an office for the head coach, and two locker rooms for the team. McAnaugh says they also turned one of the kitchen areas into a space where players can “go and take their recovery ice baths.”
People might spy the athletes outside working out, but on-site security is tight. There’s even a special, exclusive elevator to take the team to their practice facility.
“Security hasn’t been a problem, the most we’ve had is kids come in and ask ‘can we go watch them practice?’ and we say ‘sorry, you can’t,'” said McAnaugh. Still, he says having the players on site has brought a new energy to the hotel.
“It’s just incredible to see the life it brings to the building having them here,” said McAnaugh. “You can sense on game nights there’s an elevated vibe in the building.”
The hotel’s employees are used to interesting requests for the basketball stars, such as the need for a certain brand of protein powder for meals.
“After a while all the requests almost become natural, and you just learn to pivot,” he said. “It just goes to show you, if there’s a unique need for a customer or a group – we’ll figure out how to do it.”
The Oakland A’s are offering a six-person suite for the 2021 home season for the price of one bitcoin.
The deal makes the baseball team the first professional sports team in the US to price tickets directly in cryptocurrency instead of US dollars.
The regular price for the full season suite offering comes in at $64,800 – over 15% higher than the current price of bitcoin. Over the past few months the cryptocurrency has fluctuated between $50,000 to $60,000.
The baseball club’s president Dave Kaval told the Wall Street Journal over 60 people have already expressed interest in using bitcoin to buy a suite.
“It’s been a great way to see if the hype can turn into reality and hopefully make Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions more mainstream,” he told the paper. “If you see it in baseball, you could potentially see it anywhere.”
Other professional sports teams, including the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks have accepted cryptocurrencies in exchange for tickets in the past. In March, the Dallas basketball team owned by Mark Cuban announced they would accept Dogecoin in exchange for tickets and merchandise. However, those offerings were still pegged to a USD price equivalency.
The Oakland A’s are the first team to accept a static price: one bitcoin, regardless of value.
Kaval told The Journal by accepting one bitcoin for the six-person suite, he will be giving buyers the opportunity to gamble on the price of bitcoin.
“We’re basically taking the risk on that and we’ll see how that plays out,” Kaval told The Wall Street Journal. “I think that’s another reason that could compel some people to do it. If it goes down to $20,000, maybe that will drive volume!”
The bitcoin offer is available until April 1, when the baseball team opens their season against the Houston Astros.