First and foremost, let it be clear that I am no theater buff. I also didn’t major in vocal performance like Steven Brault did. I certainly don’t have the necessary blessings from the heavens to both have a good voice and a major league arm. Brault has both. Some guys have everything.
As if the mere act of reaching the big leagues wasn’t enough, Brault decided to flex on all of us yesterday by dropping an album of him performing songs from a variety of musicals, including “Hamilton,” “Wicked,” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” The Pirates left-hander is no stranger to putting his vocal talents to use during his baseball career, having performed the national anthem at Pirates games on multiple occasions. The dude’s got pipes.
Like I said, I’m no theater buff. I’ve only seen a few shows on Broadway. It’s not that I don’t enjoy musicals, it’s just that I don’t get out to see them all that often. So while I’m not exactly an expert on these matters, Brault’s voice sounds right at home in these songs to me. His vocal training shines through and he’s a naturally gifted singer. I particularly enjoyed his rendition of “Music of the Night” from “Phantom,” and I say that as someone who can’t stand Andrew Lloyd Webber (no, there aren’t any jellicle “Cats” covers on the album).
Brault’s Pittsburgh teammate Josh Bell has a cameo on the album, providing some spoken word work on “Wait for Me” from “Hadestown.”
“A Pitch at Broadway” is available on Apple Music and Spotify. You can find Brault’s website here.
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.