Great Moments in Probabilities: Yankees $200 million payroll edition

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There’s a profile of Hal Steinbrenner in the New York Times, talking about his leadership of the Yankees and his quest to bring down the payroll and get under the Luxury Tax threshold. Fun quote:

“My firmly held belief is that you don’t have to have a $200 million payroll to be world champion … And the historical data that led me to that conclusion is rock solid.”

Fun analysis from commenter silhouetted by the sea over at Baseball Think Factory:

5 times the Yankees have had a $200 Million payroll-2005 and 2008-2011-and they are the only team to ever have one. They of course won 1 World Series. Thus, teams with a $200 Million payroll have a 1 in 5 chance of winning the World Series.

Which, as others note, is way better odds than all teams in history without $200 million payrolls. Ahem.

OK, in all seriousness, Hal is right. You don’t need mondo payrolls to win it all. But you do need good, healthy baseball players. And the concern for the Yankees at the moment is that they don’t have enough of those. Payrolls, then, are sort of a red herring.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.