What Money Can't Buy....

Is, apparently, a World Series berth - or even getting into a league Championship game. This past week marked the departure of the two teams with the largest payrolls in baseball (#1 New York Yankees, at $202.7 MM and #2 Philadelphia Phillies, $173.0 MM), leaving the four remaining contenders not only mostly in the Central Time Zone but also clustered in the middle of the pack salaries-wise. The Detroit Tigers (#10, $105.7 MM), St. Louis Cardinals (#11, $105.4 MM), Texas Rangers (#13, $92.0 MM), and Milwaukee Brewers (#17, $85.5 MM) will now vie to get into the Fall Classic, each paying out roughly half of what the Yankees paid this year.

Some of this seeming Mid-American "value" is admittedly a function of the quirks of contract timing. Cards star Albert Pujols and the Brewers' Prince Fielder are both free agents after this season, and will likely meaningfully increase their salaries and their teams' payrolls - though possibly in new cities. Clearly the season's overachievers were two teams in the payroll basement - among the thirty Major League teams, the AL Wild Card entrant Tampa Bay Rays ranked 29th ($41.1 MM) and NL West Division winner Arizona Diamondbacks were 25th ($53.6 MM). Conversely, the awards for least bang-for-the buck were numerous, but the list is headed ignominiously by the Boston Red Sox - eliminated from playoff contention in game 162 despite the #3-ranked payroll of $161.8 MM.

-Neal Vitale

Bay to Breakers

Marlow's home and she took part in the annual San Francisco traditional "fun run," the Bay to Breakers. Here's her report:

The bay to breakers went quite well. I "ran" with my friend Megan Wood.
It was quite a hot day (90's I think). We took BART over with the Laus (Mr. Lau, Rebecca, and Abigail) and John Schochet. Mr. Lau is a marathon runner (he finished in 50 mins). Becca rows crew at Davis (she finished in 1 hr 25 mins).
Abigail is a cross country runner who also runs hurdles for track (she didn't pay attention to her time, but probably came in around an hour and ten mins).
John used to have a screw in his ankle but is working up to marathon level. Meg and I finished at about 1:35.
I think we only walked about a mile (part on the hill and most of mile 5) and jogged the rest. There seemed to be an unusually high percentage of naked people, but maybe that was just because they were going about the same pace as us. There were plenty of guys in drag as well. More nice gowns than house dresses this year.
I saw a nun and some caveman, but I didn't see all that much in the way of impressive, imaginative costumes.
Megan and I watched Go and ate cheap Chinese food last night rather than create costumes.
At the end of the race we met up at the Polo field and walked to Rebecca's grandma's house where they'd parked their family van last night. Rebecca's uncle was there and asked where we were all going to college as we lay on Grandma Lau's shag carpet avoiding gratuitous motion, and it was an all Ivy reunion (Brown, Yale, and of course, Columbia).
It was a good day. I'm sore.