Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Author:Michael Lewis
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    This is one of the best baseball books I have ever read, and that is saying something. Lewis’ focus is on Billy Bean, the GM of the Oakland Athletics. Because Oakland is a small-market team, Bean must use his brain to tease out the players who can help his team, at a reasonable cost. This makes him a sort of anti-Steinbrenner. Lewis goes into some detail on how Bean manages to field competitive teams almost every year under dire fiscal constraints. Must-read for any true baseball fan, and a sour

    This is one of the best baseball books I have ever read, and that is saying something. Lewis’ focus is on Billy Bean, the GM of the Oakland Athletics. Because Oakland is a small-market team, Bean must use his brain to tease out the players who can help his team, at a reasonable cost. This makes him a sort of anti-Steinbrenner. Lewis goes into some detail on how Bean manages to field competitive teams almost every year under dire fiscal constraints. Must-read for any true baseball fan, and a source of hope for fans of small-market teams. The film version was a top-notch interpretation of the book, a lovely surprise.

    4/13/18 - NY Times -

    - by Zach Schonbrun - Fascinating article. Maybe the next level in the expanding realm of the sort of baseball analysis someone like Billy Bean might employ to get an edge over wealthier franchises

  • Brina

    I read Moneyball at a time when I wasn't reading too much besides preschool kids books and reread it for the baseball book club I am a part of on good reads. Michael Lewis follows the story of general manager Billy Bean and his 2002 Oakland As, a low budget baseball team that managed to win their division going away. What is remarkable is that Bean built his team focusing on sabermetrics, not home runs and RBIs. He knew he did not have money to compete with the Yankees of the world and assembled

    I read Moneyball at a time when I wasn't reading too much besides preschool kids books and reread it for the baseball book club I am a part of on good reads. Michael Lewis follows the story of general manager Billy Bean and his 2002 Oakland As, a low budget baseball team that managed to win their division going away. What is remarkable is that Bean built his team focusing on sabermetrics, not home runs and RBIs. He knew he did not have money to compete with the Yankees of the world and assembled a team of Harvard brainiacs to read stats in order to then assemble the best low cost baseball team his money could buy.

    An amazing thing happened: the As team of damaged players won 20 games in a row on their way to a division title. The east coast establishment took notice and offered Bean a job at season's end. He declined and these years later his heart is still with the As determined to win in their crumbling ballpark with a lower budget team than before.

    Postscript: teams are focusing on sabermetrics and big budget teams like the Yankees are floundering. The last World Series champion, the Royals. The best two up and coming teams with stocked farm systems who have entire teams of Harvard brainiacs at their disposal running stats: the Cubs and Astros. Even the Yankees are building their team around up and coming players. Sabermetrics is here to stay even if it isn't as fun to watch as a home run.

    I have tried to read Lewis' other books but did not got get into them because they are about money, not baseball. Maybe I will try again because Lewis writes in a manner that makes his subject accessible to all readers. Highly recommended to all.

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    This book came out in 2003, and the movie version came out in 2011; yet, it is amazing to me that despite the success shown by the Oakland As under the guidance of Billy Beane, baseball, for the most part, is still focusing on the wrong things. Just recently the manager of the New York Mets, Terry Colli

    This book came out in 2003, and the movie version came out in 2011; yet, it is amazing to me that despite the success shown by the Oakland As under the guidance of Billy Beane, baseball, for the most part, is still focusing on the wrong things. Just recently the manager of the New York Mets, Terry Collins, who commands one of the best teams in the world, said in an interview after the World Series:

    The MLB network show

    was incensed that Collins would make such a statement in this day and age, especially since they could track several “gut” decisions he made during the World Series that probably cost them a chance to win it. The most glaring error was when he decided to pull the pitcher, Matt Harvey, in the 9th inning of game five only to change his mind and send him back out there after Harvey complained. Collins looked into the player’s eyes and saw what he wanted to see. It was the third time through the order. Harvey had pitched brilliantly, but statistically, that bad word that Collins doesn’t like. When you look at the Royals, they get to pitchers late. The Royals got to Harvey and knocked him out of the game, which left a mess for Jeurys Familia to come into the game to try and save.

    The Royals deviate from Billy Beane ball at many junctures. One being the most dramatic play of the series when Eric Hosmer steals home. Beane does not believe in stealing bases, too risky, and if you steal a base on a Billy Beane team, you better make sure you are safe. The Royals also occasionally bunt to move a runner, which doesn’t fit the Beane philosophy. He believes in managing outs and never giving up an out to advance a runner. The Royals have speedy wheels and frequently turn bunts into base hits, which would probably keep them from finding themselves subjugated to a Billy Beane lecture. You can go off script, but just be right.

    The Royals are a homegrown team. Most of the players have come from the farm club system, although they are a bit too athletic and good looking for a Billy Beane ball club. One of the things that Beane talks about is getting away from players who could sell jeans. He should know; he was one of those players that looked like a Greek God in a uniform. He was drafted in 1980 along with another phenom that even those people who don’t follow baseball probably recognize his name...Darryl Strawberry. Beane was an interesting enough prospect that, for a while, the Mets were even considering taking him in the draft first instead of Strawberry. Both were amazing specimens of what we want athletes to look like. The Mets ended up taking Beane, too, but with the 23rd pick. Beane had all the physical gifts to be successful, but sports is not just about the body; it is about the mind. Billy had a lot of expectations for himself, and those expectations became insecurities that eventually evolved into a gifted player being unable to play the game.

    He asked for a job in the As front office, and that began an odyssey in search of those players who were

    , not pretty head cases, not players that hit home runs and created RBIs, but players that could control the strike zone. As he tore apart the As organization, he got rid of the scouts who were still insisting on signing Apolloesque ballplayers and sold off overpriced talent. Ownership wasn’t giving him much money to work with anyway, so instead of buying expensive talent, he had to sell expensive talent and replace it with a motley group of players whom no one else wanted, but who had the one important element he wanted most, OPS (on base plus slugging), i.e. these guys knew how to get on base.

    These players had a menagerie of interesting things wrong with them that had other clubs looking to get rid of them, which made them perfect for Billy Beane. One pitcher had club feet. They were below average fielders. They were overweight. They threw sidearm pitches. They were older players on their way out. They were players too green for any other team to consider playing them.

    Well, maybe you can. Exhibit A: The standings at the end of the season in the American League West in 2002.

    Wins Losses Games Behind Payroll

    Oakland 103 59 ---- $41,942,665

    Anaheim 99 63 4 $62,757,041

    Seattle 93 69 10 $86,084,710

    Texas 72 90 31 $106,915,180

    Now the interesting thing is notice the payroll compared to the wins. The more money a team spent the fewer games they won. If I had been the Texas Rangers owner, I’d be looking at these results and think to myself, What am I paying for?

    Baseball is in love with RBIs and Home Runs. They think those are the things about baseball that put butts in seats. As the Royals made their way through the playoffs in the American league in 2015, they encountered two teams that depended on the home run to win ball games. The Royals hit 95 home runs in 2014, which placed them dead last at 30th among major league baseball teams. In 2015, they improved to 139 home runs, but were still 24th in the league. Their opponent in the playoffs in 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays, were 1st in all of major league baseball with 232 home runs. Their other opponent, the Houston Astros, hit 230 home runs and were second in the league for home runs.

    Jacking up home runs might equal playoffs, but it doesn’t seem to equal winning world championships.

    Even the Mets hit 177 home runs for 9th in the league. They did win the pennant, but still fell short of winning a world championship. To my eye, they are a more complete offensive ballclub than Houston or Toronto and will be contenders again this year, but not because they hit a lot of home runs.

    So why is major league baseball so reluctant to embrace the philosophy of Moneyball?

    For instance, preferring high school players in the draft over college players, even though statistically college players do better. College athletes have played against stiffer competition. They have honed their skills. They have more reliable stats to give a general manager a better clue to how they will perform at the next level.

    I admire the Mets. They are a terrific team. I still have a lot of nostalgia for Gary Carter and the Miracle Mets of 1986, and if the Royals hadn’t been playing against them last year, I would have been rooting for them in the World Series. I have to say that Terry Collins’ comments about basically comparing statistics to voodoo was disappointing to me. I don’t mean to pick on Collins, but his comments came after he made several decisions in the face of a pile of data to the contrary that probably cost his team at least a better chance to win the World Series. He is not alone. Baseball is still filled with owners, GMs, and managers who believe that home runs and RBIs are the most important statistics and the best way to win championships.

    It was the same things teams were saying about the As in the early 2000s.

    I think of all those ballplayers who really know how to play the game, who are stuck in the minor leagues because they hit too many singles or walked too many times, and didn’t launch enough missiles over the back fence.

    I loved this book because I’m a fan of baseball, but the book had a much bigger impact on me. I started thinking about and applying Billy Beane principles to my own business. We are a company mired in traditions and traditional thinking and long overdue for an overhaul in philosophy to meet new challenges. Like all companies, we need to become more efficient, more lean, more targeted to what wins ball games rather than what creates a big splash. I’m buying copies of this book for the rest of the management staff, and we are going to talk about singles and doubles and managing our outs. Maybe we, too, can get our Royal on.

    If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit

    I also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • Kemper

    Having the misfortune of being a Kansas City Royals fan, I thought I’d had any interest in baseball beaten out of me by season after season of humiliation. Plus, the endless debate about the unfairness of large market vs. small market baseball had made my eyes glaze over years ago so I didn’t pay much attention to the

    story until the movie came out last year and caught my interest enough to finally check this out.

    Despite being a small market team and outspent by tens of millions of dol

    Having the misfortune of being a Kansas City Royals fan, I thought I’d had any interest in baseball beaten out of me by season after season of humiliation. Plus, the endless debate about the unfairness of large market vs. small market baseball had made my eyes glaze over years ago so I didn’t pay much attention to the

    story until the movie came out last year and caught my interest enough to finally check this out.

    Despite being a small market team and outspent by tens of millions of dollars by clubs like the Yankees, the Oakland A’s managed to be extremely competitive from 1999 through 2006. They did this when their general manager Billy Beane embraced a new type of baseball statistics called sabermetrics that had been championed by a stat head from Kansas named Bill James.

    James had pored over box scores and started seriously questioning the traditional ways of measuring the performance of players with his initially self-published digests that eventually became must reads for hardcore baseball nerdlingers. As the digital age made mountains of baseball stats available on-line, fans with a mathematical frame of mind (And there are a lot of them.) started coming up with ways of looking at the data that called the old ways of evaluating players into question.

    Beane had plenty of reason to distrust the old way of scouting since he had once been identified as a can’t-miss prospect who ended up quitting as a player to take a job in the front office after his career flamed out. By coming up with new ways to grade performance and ignoring things that other teams deemed flaws like being overweight or having a peculiar throwing motion, the A’s went after low dollar high-impact players who made them one of the winningest teams with the lowest payroll in baseball.

    The sport has always had a weird intersection of nerd and jock, and this story illustrates that dynamic very well as Beane and his staff decided to trust the numbers rather than conventional wisdom. The conflict between the two worlds is a fascinating story, and the brash Beane makes a great focal point.

    It’s a great book not just for sports fans, but for anyone who likes stories about people trying to shake up an established way of doing things. And if you’re a math geek or have a thing for hard nosed business deals, there’s a lot to like here. By framing the story in terms of the people involved, Lewis keeps it relatable in human terms and not just a dry recitation of on base percentages.

    The movie is also extremely well done and entertaining (Hence the Oscar nomination for Best Picture.),but the Aaron Sorkin screenplay vastly simplifies the story and Hollywoodizes it to an extreme degree. Still, it’s a great flick for anyone who has a soft spot for stories about underdogs.

  • Diane

    Michael Lewis hit this one out of the park. I love his writing style -- he is able to explain complex and insider ideas to a layperson, and he makes it interesting. That skill is as valuable to a reporter as a baseball player's on-base percentage was to the Oakland Athletics.

    The story follows the Oakland A's during the 2002 baseball season, which was when their general manager, Billy Beane, was following a different set of principles for assembling a team than the majority of the league. Beane a

    Michael Lewis hit this one out of the park. I love his writing style -- he is able to explain complex and insider ideas to a layperson, and he makes it interesting. That skill is as valuable to a reporter as a baseball player's on-base percentage was to the Oakland Athletics.

    The story follows the Oakland A's during the 2002 baseball season, which was when their general manager, Billy Beane, was following a different set of principles for assembling a team than the majority of the league. Beane and his assistant, Paul DePodesta, were applying sabermetrics, which meant they were looking for players with certain qualities that the rest of the league had undervalued. This was critical because the Oakland A's had very little money -- back then their payroll was about $40 million, compared to the New York Yankees payroll of $126 million. The stats Beane and DePodesta were most interested in were a player's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

    The A's experiment worked and the team had a historical 20-game winning streak and made it to the playoffs. By now, the A's analytical tactics have widely been adopted by Major League Baseball, but back in 2002, the strategy was mocked by almost everyone inside the league.

    In addition to explaining baseball stats, Lewis makes the story more compelling by bringing in sports psychology, game theory and sharing the stories of statistician Bill James, Beane, and a few key players. Beane had himself played in the major leagues, but he lacked the skills to be a consistent hitter. Beane was recruited out of high school and had to decide between a pro-baseball contract or going to Stanford. "I made one decision based on money in my life -- when I signed with the Mets rather than go to Stanford -- and I promised I'd never do it again." After several disappointing seasons as a player, Beane decided he would rather be a scout, and quit playing to work his way up in the A's front office.

    Another interesting story was that of A's first baseman Scott Hatteberg. Hatte had been a catcher for the Boston Red Sox, but after suffering nerve damage in his elbow, he could never catch again. Beane and DePodesta saw in him the potential to be a good hitter and trained him to play first base. One of my favorite chapters in the book was about Hatte and how thoughtful he was about his hitting. In a great scene, he's in the team's video room watching footage of pitcher Jamie Moyer, who Hatte will be facing later that day. Moyer was a tough pitcher and Hatte was trying to figure out a strategy.

    "Moyer was one of the few pitchers in baseball who would think about Scott Hatteberg as much as Hatteberg thought about him. Moyer would know that Hatteberg never swung at the first pitch -- except to keep a pitcher honest -- and so Moyer might just throw a first-pitch strike. But Moyer would also know that Hatteberg knew that Moyer knew. Which brought Hatteberg back to square one. He was knee-deep in game theory, and he had only an hour before he had to play the game."

    I would highly recommend this book to baseball fans, even if they've seen the movie version, because the book is more in-depth and has great stories that didn't make it into the film. I think readers who like stories about underdogs would also enjoy it, because it shows how a poor team was able to change the institution of baseball.

  • Howard

    I hardly know where to begin in attempting a review of Michael Lewis’

    . It isn’t that I don’t think that the book is well written, because it is. It isn’t that I disagree with the conclusions that are reached in the book, because, for the most part, I don’t. What bothers me, as a recovering baseball fanatic, is that I don’t enjoy the game that utilizes the approac

    I hardly know where to begin in attempting a review of Michael Lewis’

    . It isn’t that I don’t think that the book is well written, because it is. It isn’t that I disagree with the conclusions that are reached in the book, because, for the most part, I don’t. What bothers me, as a recovering baseball fanatic, is that I don’t enjoy the game that utilizes the approaches that are proposed in this book.

    describes how the general manager of the Oakland A’s, Billy Beane, has been able to use sabermetrics (statistical analysis originated by Bill James and others) to more intelligently draft players and win games.

    According to the proponents of this new approach:

    1) offense is more important than pitching; 2) defense hardly matters at all; 3) the most important baseball statistic is on-base percentage, followed by slugging percentage; 4) stealing bases should not be attempted because it is not worth the risk; 5) the same goes for the hit-and-run; 6) never sacrifice because it is not worth giving up the out; 7) scouts are unnecessary; and 8) line-ups and game strategy are dictated to the manager by the general manager and his statistical analysts, making managers almost as unnecessary as scouts.

    Beane and his statistical guru, and not the scouts, decide who should be drafted. According to Lewis, the most important statistic to Beane and his statistician in determining what position players to draft is the ability of players to draw walks. They look for players (only college players for they never draft high school players) who have exhibited the ability to work deep in the count and to draw walks.

    I can’t speak for others, but I don’t watch baseball games in order to watch hitters work deep into the count, draw a walk, camp out on the bases until somebody gets an extra-base hit (or two) to drive them home. The strategy utilized by Beane and his proponents may produce a more efficient style of baseball, about that I am in no position to quibble. It may be the only way that a small market team like the Oakland A’s can compete with the deep pockets of the New York Yankees and other large market teams (the ‘unfair game’ mentioned in the book’s subtitle).

    However, to repeat, I find the emphasis on this approach to result in a game that is much less fun to watch.

  • Matt

    “It breaks your heart,” A. Bartlett Giamatti wrote of baseball in a piece called

    . “It is designed to break your heart.”

    And so it does, year after year.

    Baseball, as has often been noted, is a game predicated on failure. The game’s best hitters only succeed in roughly three out of ten at bats. A 162-game season presents a tremendous sample size, which should iron out aberrations; and yet year after year, entire seasons come down to a single bad bounce or mistimed swi

    “It breaks your heart,” A. Bartlett Giamatti wrote of baseball in a piece called

    . “It is designed to break your heart.”

    And so it does, year after year.

    Baseball, as has often been noted, is a game predicated on failure. The game’s best hitters only succeed in roughly three out of ten at bats. A 162-game season presents a tremendous sample size, which should iron out aberrations; and yet year after year, entire seasons come down to a single bad bounce or mistimed swing or hanging curve or missed call. You can spend an entire summer of lazy days drinking beer and cheering for your 100-win team, only to watch them sputter and die in a five-game series in October.

    It doesn’t seem fair, sometimes.

    Michael Lewis’s

    is about a man who tried to crack the code, to find the secret to winning an “unfair” game. That man is Billy Beane, the general manager of the small market Oakland Athletics. In 2002, the A’s were coming off a tremendously successful season in which they’d won 102 games. After the season, however, they lost three key free agents, including all-around masher (and later-admitted PED user) Jason Giambi. Beane wanted to replicate his team’s success, but he had to do it on a shoestring budget.

    Beane’s approach was to find undervalued players with a knack for getting on base. Instead of looking simply at the time-honored statistics of batting average, home runs, and RBIs, he turned to more obscure figures like on base percentage (OBP). He believed that getting on base more-closely correlated to wins than any other metric. The baseball world largely doubted Beane’s sanity. Yet the 2002 A’s ended up winning one more game than their star-heavy 2001 model.

    Beane’s revolution didn’t result in a championship (for which Beane is often unfairly maligned), but it help change the game of baseball, a sport that is historically resistant to transformation. It’s a testament to the impact of Lewis’s book that the title has become a shorthand of sorts for the entire sabermetric movement that has altered the way players are watched, judged, and paid.

    Like all of Michael Lewis’s books,

    is addictively readable. Getting my almost-two-year-old to fall asleep every night has become an epic battle of wills. If you leave the room before she is sound asleep, she will hop up in her crib and unleash a sound akin to the war cry of the orcs on the Pelennor Fields. Then, once you get her to sleep, she will randomly wake up screaming as though her Daniel Tiger doll has caught on fire. The only way to ease her into unconsciousness is to sit with her. That’s become my job. I sit with her in a dark room reading with a headlamp.

    proved to be perfect for this task. It is fast paced, perceptive, and filled with memorable character sketches. Lewis has an uncanny knack for making his readers feel smart. He can take complex subjects and boil them down with such ease that you start to feel like you can learn anything. (Of course, one of the knocks on Lewis is that he is an over-simplifier. Perhaps. But that’s better than a needless confuser).

    Lewis is a gifted storyteller. As such, he tends to find idiosyncratic characters upon which to hang his story. Beane proves to be a good choice. He ia a former ballplayer, a highly touted 5-tool athlete who became a high draft pick and a major bust. It is easy to see how his failures as a player made him eager to find a better rubric for evaluating talent. In Lewis’s hands, Beane is a passionate convert with a bucketful of neuroses, such as an inability to watch the A’s play live.

    is partly Beane’s biography. Beane, however, did not create the sabermetric movement. In this area, he stood on the shoulders of

    math nerds. The godfather of advanced statistics is Bill James, founder of the self-published statistical compilation

    . Lewis rightfully devotes an entire chapter to James and his acolytes, many of whom were hired by various Major League teams. They devised a new model; Beane implemented it.

    was originally published in 2003, and has since been made into a motion picture. It’s interesting to read it now, in light of all that has transpired. When the book first came out, it angered a lot of people in Major League Baseball. There are, it seems, a lot of innumerate luddites in the baseball world who couldn’t stand the way Beane (and others like him) viewed their game. I mean, you got a guy like Dusty Baker – a freaking manager – who doesn’t like walks because they “clog up the bases.” This kind of wrongheaded institutionalized dogma makes it difficult for fresh views to gain traction. The popularity of

    helped bring the stat geeks into the mainstream. Today, advanced statistics are the norm, and even casual baseball articles make reference to wins above replacement (WAR), weighted on-base average (wOBA), and fielding-independent pitching (FIP).

    Beane isn’t a prophet or really even a pioneer. Other teams were using advanced stats. Beane just staked a lot more on it. He also had a great promoter in Michael Lewis. In some ways, his tactics were pretty rudimentary. For instance, one of the center pieces of

    is Scott Hatteberg’s transition from catcher to first base. Hatteberg was an on-base machine, so Beane plugged him into first base, despite having no experience playing there. Today, with advanced defensive metrics, such a move would be even more suspect than it was at the time. As it turned out, Hatteberg ended up playing decent first base. The point is that Beane’s deprecation of defense now seems rather shortsighted for a value-oriented GM. (He also undervalued the bullpen, which looks especially wrongheaded in the age of ace middle relievers and closers). Many of the players mentioned in the book as Beane favorites never quite panned out (including catcher Jeremy Brown, who plays a large role). This isn’t to say that Beane was wrong in the premises, only that the game of baseball will always remain unfair.

    The term “moneyball” has outrun its original meaning. Teams like the Red Sox and Cubs that are known for using sabermetrics also happen to have all the money in the world. Small market winners like the Kansas City Royals use a different kind of moneyball, by utilizing young, cost-controlled players, valuing defense, and utilizing outside the box thinking, such as their stocked bullpen which effectively shortens games to 6 innings. (The Royals and their manager Ned Yost did employ one quintessential Beane tactic: refusing to bunt or steal. Yost, of course, was disparaged throughout two playoff runs, right up until the moment he won the World Series. In fact, baseball’s wise men are still griping that the Royals won despite the man, rather than because of him. This is par for the course in baseball).

    Beane and the A’s have not won a World Series since the publication of

    . As Beane himself admits, his tactics are great for the regular season, but don’t mean squat in the playoffs. That is the nature of baseball and life. You think you have all the time in the world to get things done, and then suddenly you don’t.

    “The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again,” A. Bartlett Giamatti wrote. “When you need it most, it stops.”

  • Riku Sayuj

    It was a better story before I knew the whole story.

    Almost every book on randomness I have read had a reference to Moneyball and I had built up my own version about this story (I had even told a few people that version!) and it imagined everybody doing what Billy Beane was doing, and Billy Beane doing some sort of probability distribution among all players and randomly picking his team, winning emphatically, and thus proving that a truly random pick of players is the equivalent of a true-simula

    It was a better story before I knew the whole story.

    Almost every book on randomness I have read had a reference to Moneyball and I had built up my own version about this story (I had even told a few people that version!) and it imagined everybody doing what Billy Beane was doing, and Billy Beane doing some sort of probability distribution among all players and randomly picking his team, winning emphatically, and thus proving that a truly random pick of players is the equivalent of a true-simulation of the market and just like how no considered selection of stock picks can ever outperform the market in the long run, a truly random representation of the baseball market cannot be outperformed by the interventionist methods of other teams over a long season. That is the story I wanted to hear. My apologies to anyone to whom I have spouted this story - it is not true. It is still probable though, when the next radical Billy Beane comes along in sports.

  • Jason

    This is a good book, but not as good as I thought it was going to be. Sometimes I find technical writing to be a bit repetitive and this definitely leans more toward technical non-fiction than biography (I was hoping for more of a human interest story here)—because even though Billy Beane takes up a large chunk of the story, it isn’t really a story about Billy Bean per se.

    was published in 2003, only a year after John Henry bought the Boston Red Sox. Before that time, very few people in

    This is a good book, but not as good as I thought it was going to be. Sometimes I find technical writing to be a bit repetitive and this definitely leans more toward technical non-fiction than biography (I was hoping for more of a human interest story here)—because even though Billy Beane takes up a large chunk of the story, it isn’t really a story about Billy Bean per se.

    was published in 2003, only a year after John Henry bought the Boston Red Sox. Before that time, very few people in baseball had ever heard the term

    , never mind tried to implement it into a strategy for drafting and trading players—very few people, that is, besides Billy Beane. What’s fascinating about Beane is how much he had to struggle against the tide in order to apply the statistical approach of sabermetrics to his managing of the Oakland Athletics. Of course, given the payroll of the A’s in the early 2000s one might argue that he had no choice. But still, he was the first general manager in baseball to attempt it, so his story is unique.

    But why the struggle? Any baseball fan could tell you how important it is to get on base, that patience at the plate is in fact doubly rewarding as it wears down opposing pitching

    draws walks. And walks are huge! They extend an inning by avoiding an out, and they put a man on base which statistically leads to a greater probability of runs scored. The reverse is also true: base stealing attempts and sacrifice bunts are no-no’s in the world of sabermetrics precisely because they have the effect of potentially

    an inning, leading to a lower probability of runs scored. It is simply not worth the calculated risk to try to advance a base runner. So why were these concepts so difficult for baseball operations managers (besides Beane) to understand? This is essentially what the author investigates here, and the easy answer lies somewhere in the fact that baseball managers are curmudgeons who are used to doing things a certain way and don’t want any smart alec college boy with his pocket protector changin’ the way things ‘er done.

    Also, Joe Morgan is a buffoon.

    I think this is basically old news, but I was still pleased to have my suspicions confirmed. So the story here is definitely interesting, but like I said, the argument in favor of a more objective approach to baseball decision-making is something that I already subscribe to (

    ), so the argument itself does become rather repetitive.

    Being a baseball fan, though, there are a few things I did enjoy, specifically Billy Beane trying to steal Kevin Youkilis out from under the noses of the Red Sox brass. At first, even though I obviously knew how things would turn out, I was almost rooting for Beane (who, by the way, was John Henry’s initial choice for managing his new organization), but I quickly checked myself and did a Jersey Shore–style fist pump when Theo Epstein refuses to let himself be outsmarted by that West Coast punk!

    And now that I’ve read this book, I think I’ll see the movie.

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2018 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.