HOF Writer Tracy Ringolsby: “Movie Continues Moneyball Myth”

by Chuck

In his most recent syndicated column for Baseball America Hall of Fame journalist Tracy Ringolsby writes the book “Moneyball” stemmed from author Michael Lewis’ “idol worship” of Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane and who was more “overwhelmed” by Beane’s personality and status than by the story he was trying to portray.

Wow, like that’s never happened before.

In his opening, Ringolsby points to his driving down the LA Freeway and seeing a Billboard advertising the movie’s opening, with the tag, “based on a true story”, which Ringolsby relates to “another Hollywood tragedy.”

To quote;

“…Michael Lewis, as talented a wordsmith as he may be, created a bigger than life hero by taking a morsel of the genius that is Billy Beane and turning it into an absolute for baseball success that even Beane himself has admitted was blown out of whack.”

Intelligent baseball sites such as this one have long claimed and proved that Lewis acted upon his rights as an author to take a non-story and turn it into a story.

As Ringolsby relates from the movie trailer, “…Billy Beane, who built a winning team despite a decreased budget thanks to his sly use of statistical data to calculate the best, and cheapest, players for his roster.”

“Say what?”

A fact Ringolsby willing points out and what most of us know, the Athletics made the postseason in four of Beane’s first six years as General Manager, but “as Beane himself acknowledges”, the “foundation of those teams” was put in place well before he replaced Sandy Alderson as the “A’s decision maker.”

The success of those teams was built around the scouting department who signed and developed pitching arms Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson.

The same scouting department and scouts Lewis freely insulted in the book.

Ringolsby goes on to point to the position players the book intentionally points to as being “a Beane type guy”, yet the two most productive players signed were Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez, two guys who “never would have been signed in the system the book emphasized.”

The truth is, Moneyball is fiction.

It’s a 300 page version of Sidd Finch.

I believe without hesitation Beane took advantage of a weakness in a system, but not the system the book portrays.

Billy Beane is a former Major League player.

Billy Beane KNOWS how the game is played; both on the field and the front office.

He knows what it takes to be successful wearing a uniform; he also knows what it’s like to play a major league game, to ride the AAA shuttle, and to lose his job to someone perceived to be better.

The weakness Beane took advantage of was within his own peer group.

The Red Sox and Rays and Diamondbacks were going out and hiring guys with Ivy League or Business School degrees. This is all well and fine if you want to make a profit, but really doesn’t play well in trying to win a ring.

Beane knew of these deficiencies and played to them.

One can easily point to the successes of Boston and Tampa of late, but the truth behind that is they spend more on scouting and development than does the Athletics.

Both Boston and Tampa employ twice the amount of scouts Oakland does.

They also have at least double the payroll.

Theo Epstein can go out and buy the 2011 AL MVP because he can.

Guys like Beane have to create MVP’s.

Whether you believe in sabermetrics or advanced knowledge, whether you believe in the individual, the end result of Moneyball is the same.

It’s a lot of things.

A true story isn’t one of them.

And for those who believe Moneyball to be “the most influential baseball book ever written”.

Shame on you.

Graduating from Yale or having a Master’s in Business has nothing to do with running a baseball team.

Deal with it.

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163 Responses to “HOF Writer Tracy Ringolsby: “Movie Continues Moneyball Myth””

  1. Raul Says:

    I’ll shed light on my ignorance, but prior to Ball Four, I can’t think of a baseball book that got as much press as Moneyball.

    And it was like 30 or so years apart.

    That said, I really enjoyed Moneyball (the book).
    I just don’t see the big deal.

  2. Raul Says:

    That should say “ASIDE from Ball Four, I can’t think of a book that got as much press as Moneyball”.

    Not “prior”.

    I always make these silly mistakes. Mind is 100 places at 1 time.
    Sorry.

  3. Chuck Says:

    Ball Four was influential because it went somewhere not many other authors or books did.

    The only other “tell all” that I can remember was “The Long Season” which was written by Reds’ pitcher Jim Brosnan, which detailed his season and trade from St. Louis to Cincinnati.

    His book “The Pennant Race” which detailed his experiences with the NL champ Reds in 1961 is a far better read, but far less controversial.

    “Ball Four” was groundbreaking and controversial.

    “North Dallas Forty” in football was groundbreaking and controversial.

    “Thin Ice” in hockey was groundbreaking and controversial.

    Moneyball is something you’d read in your grandmother’s senior center story day.

  4. Chuck Says:

    Bummer…Royals pulled Clint Robinson from the AFL.

    Rumors swirling Angels will pull Mike Trout.

    That will suck.

  5. ThomasWayne Says:

    Can’t agree with you more, Chuck. Moneyball and it’s concepts have largely been disproven in the last five or six years by none other than Billy Beane and his Oakland A’s – and their on field play.

    Is it five or six straight losing seasons using Moneyball philosophy now?

    And to those who would say “well look at all his early success playing Moneyball?”….well….to that I say “the truth hurts”….and the truth is Beane’s early success had very little to do with his player moves.

    What I want to know is why people ignore the fact that the largest part of Beane’s early sucess in Oakland (between 1999 and 2003) had to do with players acquired by Sandy Alderson before Beane ever took over. Jason Giambi (won an MVP), Miguel Tejada (won an MVP), Tim Hudson, Eric Chavez, Ben Grieve (ROY), Ramon Hernandez were all drafted prior to the Beane Administration and were all key to those early 2000’s playoff teams.

    When Beane started drafting on his own he swallowed up obvious talents like Mulder, Zito and Swisher (talents you didn’t need a computer to know about) but wasted picks on players like Jeremy Brown because a computer told him to.

    Apparently the computer was wise enough to select a 15th round player in the first round but failed to recognize Brown’s ability to actually play the game outside of having a solid OBP. Go figure.

    And what about the trailers for MONEYBALL the film? They make it sound like Oakland was completely talentless and Beane snatched up Scott Hatteberg from the local Church softball league and turned him into a big league slugger.

    I believe the term used in the trailer is “band of misfits”. I bet all of the players I mentioned above (drafted by Beane or not) love being described as misfits. Former MVP – misfit. Twenty game winner – misfit. Cy Young winner – misfit.

    Nice.

    It must be so wonderful to be Billy Beane – Jesus Christ of the Diamond. Turning water into wine and bench warmers into the ‘27 Yankees – or so the trailer would have you believe.

    So what about those misfits?

    On those Oakland squads were the likes of Jermaine Dye – an All Star before playing in Oakland and a World Series MVP after.

    Then there’s David Justice. A former ROY, a three time All Star, a two time Silver Slugger winner, a two time World Series winner and a man who played 14 years and went to 14 post seasons during that stretch.

    Do those men sound like misfits?

    They played with Hudson, Mulder, Zito, Chavez, Giambi, Tejada, and all the rest. Anyone with any kind of baseball knowledge can tell you that those teams was loaded with stars and it was their play – and not Beane’s magic – that made their teams a playoff contender.

    Want more misfits?

    How about Frank Thomas? He played in Oakland in there last playoff appearance in 2006. Two time MVP. Five time all star. Four time silver slugger winner. Sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer. Finished 4th in the AL MVP voting in 2006. Does he sound like a misfit?

    Actually, acquiring Frank sounds like a smart baseball move. A move you make based on common baseball knowledge. It’s not a move that requires a special formula or computer analysis to make. Take the Big Hurt and hurt the other team.

    Speaking of smart baseball moves – ever notice how Beane hasn’t made – well – any?

    Year after year he makes move that should be seriously questioned. At one point of time or another the A’s drafted, traded for and or traded again the following group of players – all of whom became stars after leaving Oakland.

    Andre Ethier
    Ryan Ludwick
    Carlos Gonzalez
    Dan Haren
    Carlos Pena

    These men have done at least one of the following – won a Silver Slugger, won a Gold Glove, made an All Star team, won a Batting title and or won a HR crown after being let go by Oakland. Why didn’t Beane and his computers see the value of any of these men?

    It stands to reason that at the time all of these men were traded away they weren’t making a lot of money. Why not keep them? Isn’t Moneyball all about the hidden value? Imagine an Oakland team two or three years ago with Ethier and Ludwick in the Outfield, Pena at first and Haren still on the mound. Would have been a lot better squad then what they had, I can guarantee you that.

    There are only two reasons not to keep these players – One, you don’t know how to evaluate talent or two, your computer told you wrong.

    It all adds up. Moneyball is fiction. Well thought out – like most fiction based in reality – but fiction none the less.

    Since that playoff run in 2006 Oakland has been nothing less than a major dumpster diver.

    Why has Moneyball stopped working? Could it be that it never worked to begin with? Oakland’s success had more to do with it’s players before Beane than anything Beane did.

    Non-baseball playing stat heads who love the game have taken to Moneyball like a religion – it’s there way to be great in a game they had no chance of being a part of prior to its publication.

    What I want to know is how is Moneyball going to end? Under Beane they’ve had 5 playoff appearances in 14 years – which is good but far from great. Of those five they made it out of the first round once. They have never been to a World Series under Beane.

    So here is how Moneyball ends…

    TITLE CARD – Beane and the A’s continue to fight the good fight against the unfair system that allows the rich to stay rich and the poor to fight using the best weapons at their fingertips – statistical analysis.

    What it should say is…

    TITLE CARD – Wait a minute? This team didn’t win dick and they made a movie about it? Jesus Christ – can’t Brad Pitt just adopt another child with Angelina and stop wasting our time.

    TW

  6. Raul Says:

    …..this is the part where someone says

    “Did you even read Moneyball?? It was about exploiting market inefficiencies!!!”

  7. ThomasWayne Says:

    The movie and book will be very different. Guaranteed.

    And yes, I have read Moneyball, twice. This is why I point out the players missed which could have been kept for little money.

    It’s also why I think they will finish with a title card very similar to the one I posted above. And to say it is about market inefficiencies is not completely true. It’s about winning within those inefficient markets. All of which I pointed out in my analysis of Moneyball as written above.

    I ask anyone and everyone – was there one word of what I wrote in my first comment that is false or untrue? I’m just curious to the responses.

    TW

    TW

  8. Raul Says:

    Someone might argue that Haren was great in Oakland.
    That’s one bone I think some might pick with you.

  9. brautigan Says:

    TW writes: “Year after year he makes move that should be seriously questioned. At one point of time or another the A’s drafted, traded for and or traded again the following group of players – all of whom became stars after leaving Oakland.

    Andre Ethier
    Ryan Ludwick
    Carlos Gonzalez
    Dan Haren
    Carlos Pena”

    Talk about cherry picking Thomas. Pena had been released twice (by the Tigers and the Yankees) after Oakland traded him to Detroit. Haren was traded for Carlo Gonzalez (and Brett Anderson and others) and was traded again. Ludwick has more air miles than most MLB players. Andre Ethier wasn’t the ball player he is today when Oakland traded him (Omar Quintanilla hit for a better average and slugging pct. when they played together in Modesto).

    You don’t like the movie, I have a suggestion: Don’t go. Whenever a movie says “based on a true story”, you can pretty much guess it isn’t going to have much truth in it. This movie has “bomb” written all over it. The book on the other hand, I found to be an enjoyable read.

  10. John Says:

    “Is it five or six straight losing seasons using Moneyball philosophy now?”

    Dude, they’re not going to compete every single year.

    For the record, they were .500 last year, and before that they had won 75 games 3 times.

    No, that’s not great. But when you have a bottom-10 payroll, 75 wins is better than what you expect, normally.

    And before that, they had made the playoffs 4 times in 6 years.

    Does that really constitute a “failure” of the moneyball philosophy? When a traditionalist team like Seattle doesn’t make the playoffs for 10 straight years, is that a failure of traditionally-run teams? We’ve had Omar Minaya and Jim Hendry both fail, pretty regularly to make the post-season and even manage to put up a bunch of sub-.500 years. They were non-moneyball kinda teams and they had 150M payrolls. They also win a lot less frequently than the A’s.

    Maybe Beane’s not a genius. I’m perfectly willing to accept that – certainly, not everything he’s done has worked out. But having some losing seasons when you have no money, like, fucking none, does not represent the failure of an entire philosophy.

  11. brautigan Says:

    Mike Moustakas hit his 2nd homerun today. 2 homeruns in over 300 plate appearances. And I don’t hear anyone ripping Dayton Moore for his moves this year.

    You know, sometimes I just don’t get it.

  12. brautigan Says:

    John: Well, you can rip Beane for signing Ben Sheets for $10 million. However, kudos for making it a 1 year deal. (Unlike Washington and the 7 years they gave Jayson Werth….ouch)

  13. John Says:

    Let’s go through that list, TW:

    Andre Ethier – sure. Got basically nothing for him. Terrible trade.

    Ryan Ludwick – had exactly one big year, hitting behind Albert Pujols. Since then, hasn’t done squat.

    Carlos Gonzalez – has a .744 career OPS away from Coor’s Field. He’s not a star at O.co Colliseum.

    Dan Haren – you’ve got to be effing kidding me. He was acquired for Mark Mulder, provided MORE for the A’s than Mark Mulder did for the Cards, and was then traded when he was becoming expensive. Haren makes 13M a year now. Trading him was a no-brainer…and they got Brett Anderson (along with CarGo and 5 other guys) for him.

    Carlos Pena – Wouldn’t be productive for FIVE years after being traded. The trade netted a year of Ted Lilly, who was a very solid #4 in 2003.

  14. John Says:

    @11, Moose is young and well regarded as a prospect. The Royals could have 1980 George Brett on their team, and they would not be competitive. Moore’s had his share of fuck-ups, but it certainly looks like he’s built up a big future for his club. We’ll see.

    @12, exactly. Way too much money for one year, but it was just one year, so who cares? I wouldn’t have made that move, but you can’t say it was an epic failure when, all-told, he was only on the hook for 10M total.

    “What I want to know is how is Moneyball going to end? Under Beane they’ve had 5 playoff appearances in 14 years – which is good but far from great. ”

    No. For a small-market team, that is great. There’s no two-ways about it. Maybe it’s not all or even mostly Beane’s work, but look at what the Pirates, Royals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, Dodgers, etc have done in that span.

  15. John Says:

    Also, I will point out that there has been another book written called “The Extra 2%” about how the Rays, run by Wall Street dudes have used sabermetrics to become successful.

    Not sure about all the details, but I certainly look forward to reading it.

  16. brautigan Says:

    John: Yes, Moose is young, but the question is: Do you screw his psyche into the ground (in other words, does he believe he can play at this level? Not with his .585 OPS.)

    Also, why hasn’t Lorenzo Cain made his 2011 debut yet? Is the PCL playoffs THAT important?

  17. John Says:

    I thought that Lorenzo Cain was MLB-ready *last year.*

    Maybe Dayton Moore just loves Melky Cabrera that much. He’s having a pretty solid year for sure, but I would’ve traded him at mid-season.

  18. ThomasWayne Says:

    Brautigan wrote:

    Mike Moustakas hit his 2nd homerun today. 2 homeruns in over 300 plate appearances. And I don’t hear anyone ripping Dayton Moore for his moves this year.

    TW replys – and Dayton Moore never had a book written about him and his approach to winning baseball via massive statistical analysis. Whatever anyone thinks Moneyball is about they have to admit it romantisizes Billy Beane as a genius – a man not afraid to go off in another direction. I believe in large part his success was not all his – but percieved as his. Honestly, if Oakland had won a World Series in say 2006 – who do you think would have recieved most of the credit? It would have all been about Beane. Case in point…they have won nothing and they and a movie is coming out- in large part- about Billy Beane and his genius approach to the game. Imagine if he actually did anything worth trumpeting about.

    Sure, all GM’s make mistakes and most make quality moves – on some level. But none other than BEANE have had a book written in part about his greatness -at least on an innovattive level.

    Then John wrote:
    Maybe Beane’s not a genius. I’m perfectly willing to accept that – certainly, not everything he’s done has worked out. But having some losing seasons when you have no money, like, fucking none, does not represent the failure of an entire philosophy.

    TW replies: Okay John, fair enough. Maybe his current losing doesn’t represent an entire philosophy….but where do you draw the line. After 8 losing seasons? Ten? Fifteen?

    Why do you think Beane is rumored as a leading candidate for the Cubs GM job? If he gets it he can finally work for a team that will spend huge amounts of money so he doesn’t have to fiddle around with the meager players -found via moneyball like statistical analysis or traditional scouting. It doesnt matter. Its all about the money. And make no mistake…if Beane wins in Chicago (if he was to go there) he will be thought of as a genius.

    In all honesty, GM genius is based on one thing and one thing only – how much is the owner willing to spend and on who? Period.

    If Lew Wolfe opened up his deep pockets in Oakland and said “kay Billy, do what you need to do to win – I’ll back you up to $120 million”- Moneyball would be out the window and Oakland would approach things differently, guaranteed.

    This brings me back to my original Moneyball point – if it was such a good philosophy on how to build a winning team – money would not matter. It would be used by all regardless of how much is spent. Moneyball doesn’t work and this is why the A’s have had 5 shitty years in a row.

  19. ThomasWayne Says:

    Or should I say, MOneyball doesn’t work in my opinion. I guess 5 straight .500 or lower seasons is considered successful by some. Just not me.

    Like I said – if Beane ever GM’ed a team that had deep pockets who were not afraid to spend Moneyball would be out the window. He would go after the acknowledged best regardless of how valuable the “Jeremy Brown’s” of the world might seem on paper (err…computer monitor).

    TW

  20. Raul Says:

    I’m gonna bet the point that’s avoided in TW’s response is the question regarding the moment at which you call Beane a loser.

    8 losing seasons? 10? 15?

  21. brautigan Says:

    TW: Where have you been? “Moneyball” hasn’t been utilized in Oakland in some time. Signing Sheets signaled that moment like a cannon going off next to your ear canal. Trading for Milton Bradley kind of sent the message that “Moneyball” was no longer the template in Oakland.

    TW: Also, if you are going to criticize Beane over the Jeremy Brown pick, it would be nice if you put it in a proper context. Brown was picked because he was at best a late round pick and he agreed to sign for significant less money if he were to be drafted early in the draft. Well, keep in mind that Oakland drafted 4 other players before they got to Brown, and they drafted two other players after Brown in the supplemental first round. That’s 7 picks in the first 39. That is a lot of dedicated money to sign those 7, so if you ask me, I think Beane did it right.

  22. Lefty33 Says:

    “No. For a small-market team, that is great. There’s no two-ways about it. Maybe it’s not all or even mostly Beane’s work, but look at what the Pirates, Royals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, Dodgers, etc have done in that span.”

    Good comment because most of his “success” in terms of when the A’s were making the playoffs early in his tenure can be 100% attributed to him winning with team that Alderson had already put together.

    The last five years have been mostly brutal and his record of drafting and trade making make him and his “system” look less intelligent by the year.

    Yes the payroll has been an issue but even in 2007 when he was given 80 million dollars, which put the A’s almost in the middle in payroll, the team turned in a record of 76-86.

    As long as there is the ability for teams in Baseball to spend unlimited amounts of money Beane will always be a loser with his system/scheme/whatever it is in Oakland because you can’t outsmart pure spending in Baseball.

    It doesn’t work that way.

    Never has and short of a salary cap, which will never happen, it never will.

  23. John Says:

    In 2006, he did. That team that went to the ALCS has what…one Alderson guy? Cmon.

    Also, the Rays have been doing the same stuff and been winning quite a bit.

    @TW, why do all the non-SABR teams get a pass when putting out periods of being unsuccessful?

  24. Lefty33 Says:

    “In 2006, he did. That team that went to the ALCS has what…one Alderson guy? Cmon.”

    And what has he done since then John? Shit. 374-420 or a .471 win percentage from ‘07 until now. Cmon John even you’re smarter than that.

    So he made one postseason run with guys he brought in and then ownership gave him more money and the next season the team tanked and they have not been relevant since.

    He’s been the GM since ‘98 and all but one of his postseason appearances were based on players that he mostly didn’t draft or sign.

    Must be a tough job going around and riding your predecessors coattails then helping to make your team irrelevant for the next nine seasons.

    “Also, the Rays have been doing the same stuff and been winning quite a bit.”

    The Rays have also had more high round draft picks over the last ten years than any other team in Baseball and unlike Oakland they have done a great job with those picks getting top quality players, particularly pitchers, with them where as Oakland clearly has not.

    It doesn’t matter what the Rays do. As long as they are in the AL East with the Yankees and Red Sox they will never win a WS and they will be in a constant state of rebuilding because they won’t spend money on any FA talent, they have shit for a fanbase, and every MLB FA knows that Tampa is not a place to go and play which is why, even aside of the money, they never sign any relevant people in the off-season.

    And to answer your question to TW, who said that non-SABR teams are getting a pass? You don’t think the Mets haven’t been ripped enough over the last five years for stupid move after stupid move? Same with the Cubs?

    The local media in Pittsburgh and Baltimore have been screaming about poor draft choices and lack of financial commitment from both teams ownerships for over a decade now.

    Very few if any teams “get a pass” John. It’s just that some owners, like we’ve discussed here before a million times, want to win and some want to make money and if they win be accident then that’s a nice after thought.

    Plenty of non-SABR teams do not get passes the same way how Beane does not deserve a pass and if anything based on what other franchises do to GM’s who lose as much as the A’s have lately he should get fired.

  25. John Says:

    As long as the Rays are in the east, they’ll never win a WS…except that they made one three years ago, topping the Yankees and Red Sox. The fact that they lost to the Phillies is, of course, irrelevent.

  26. Raul Says:

    “Brown was picked because he was at best a late round pick and he agreed to sign for significant less money if he were to be drafted early in the draft.”

    Sounds like something you could say about 1,000 other guys in a given MLB Draft.
    Surely some of them had to be better options than Brown.

  27. Raul Says:

    “As long as the Rays are in the east, they’ll never win a WS…except that they made one three years ago, topping the Yankees and Red Sox. The fact that they lost to the Phillies is, of course, irrelevent.”

    That they’re window is closing rapidly, however, is not irrelevant.

  28. ThomasWayne Says:

    John,

    You are correct…in 2006 that would most likely be 100% a Beane compiled team and yes, they made it all the way to the ALCS. So if there is one feather in his cap it would be that. No argument there.

    Now…@TW, why do all the non-SABR teams get a pass when putting out periods of being unsuccessful?

    This is simple…other teams…SABR or not…haven’t had a book written about them trumpeting their system as a succesful way to compete against the big boys with all the money.

    In essence..pure and simple…this is what Moneyball is about. It’s about how Beane and his posse have come up with a way…via over abundent statistical analysis….to compete against the Yanks, Sox, Angels, whomever.

    Other than 2006 (if you agree that the 4 other playoff appearances prior to that had more to do with Alderson’s drafts and not anything Beane did) Beane and the A’s have yet to prove they can compete with the big boys, regardless of system used.

    If Beane was to drop all statistcal analysis tomorrow and draft using a psychic….and the A’s went to the World Series….is it a genius move or a fluke?

    If a Book was written about that psychic and written in a way that made it sound like this is a sure fire way to compete against the money spenders there would be plenty of folks jump on the psychic-for-hire bandwagon.

    And for all the folks trumpeting a moneyball approach for the success of the Rays over the last three or four years..GIVE ME A BREAK…ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    When you’ve had as many previous losing seasons as the Rays have had and you have that many first round draft picks its easy to become good when you are constantly drafting number one overall in the country. Hell…I could start a team tommorrow and if you gave me the number one pick in the country every year for a decade I would build you a contender by year twelve or thirteen.

  29. Chuck Says:

    If there’s any team that’s “anti-Moneyball” it’s the Rays.

  30. Chuck Says:

    And the number of true “SABR” teams in baseball totals zero.

  31. ThomasWayne Says:

    Brautigan wrote –
    TW: Where have you been? “Moneyball” hasn’t been utilized in Oakland in some time. Signing Sheets signaled that moment like a cannon going off next to your ear canal. Trading for Milton Bradley kind of sent the message that “Moneyball” was no longer the template in Oakland.

    I dare anyone to look at the A’s current roster and or minor league system and tell me that the Moneyball era is over. The signing of Ben Sheets was a planned “I hope he does well so we can deal him to a contender move”. He got hurt and that ended that. As far as Milton Bradley goes…he is exactly the kind of player Moneyball will find as a “hidden gem”. High OBP and such – however…the stats did not show his hot headedness, his anger and all the negatives that come with Milton Bradley. The A’s, Dodgers, and Cubs have all tried to recycle Bradley into a new player and failed. They’d have been better off spending money discussing Bradley with a shrink instead of spending it on analysising his stats and hoping for a change of heart.

    The one place where Moneyball philosophy might have changed is with the stolen base. Beane and his guru’s despise the stolen base. But over the years the A’s have become a base stealing team again. Why? It’s simple – regardless of his hatred for the stat Beane realized his high OBP guys weren’t getting past first base. Not a lot of guys score from a starting point of first base. You must be in scoring position to score…this is why 2nd and 3rd are called scoring position. All the walks and high OBP in the world won’t help you score from first base the majority of the time. So how does one get to second? A double. Two Walks. Or steal a base. Beane abandoned his BS philosophy to improve his team and I applaud him for that. To bad it took him ten or so years to realize it.

    Then Brautigan wrote-

    TW: Also, if you are going to criticize Beane over the Jeremy Brown pick, it would be nice if you put it in a proper context. Brown was picked because he was at best a late round pick and he agreed to sign for significant less money if he were to be drafted early in the draft. Well, keep in mind that Oakland drafted 4 other players before they got to Brown, and they drafted two other players after Brown in the supplemental first round. That’s 7 picks in the first 39. That is a lot of dedicated money to sign those 7, so if you ask me, I think Beane did it right.

    Yep. That is why he signed Brown. But regardless of why…who in their right mind (or stat blinded mind) would choose to draft a pick expected to go between the 8th and 15th round in the first round just because the money would be cheaper??? Just because your stats told you to????

    That move makes absolutely no sense. If you covet Brown so much why not draft him in the 5th or 6th? You will still get him earlier than his projections and not have to pay him first round money at all.

    Jeremy Brown…at least his first round selection….should be the poster boy of why the Moneyball approach simply does not work. You can’t over analyize stats and then justify selecting an average 11th or 12th round pick in the first round because you felt it was financially sound. The financially sound move is to draft Brown later and pay him less money.

    Brown represents Beane’s my-way-or-the-highway-approach that for the most part has simply not worked at all.

  32. ThomasWayne Says:

    I’d like to make another quick point about the supposed Moneyball approach that very few people talk about – Billy Beane’s part ownership of the A’s.

    I wrote an article a year or two back discussing how (perhaps) Beane’s attempts to save money by drafting and recyclying players had more to do with his personal bank account than it did with finding a financially sound product to put on the field.

    The more money Beane saves Lew Wolfe when putting a team together the more Money (in theory, I can’t state this as fact as I am not Beane’s accountant or money launderer) goes into Beane’s own pocket.

    Again, I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I am stating a fact (Beane has a part ownership in the team) and wondering where that fact might really lead (as the old saying goes – a penny saved is a penny earned).

    Let’s not forget that the A’s have recieved at least 15 to 20 million in luxury tax revenue sharing over the years that not one dime of (as far as I or anyone else can tell) has been put back into the system to improve the product on the field.

    Moneyball is real and alive in Oakland – perhaps just not the way everyone has been cohearsed into believing.
    TW

  33. Chuck Says:

    So, you draft a sixth rounder in the first round and sign him for slot.

    Slot for a first rounder is a million bucks, for a sixth rounder it’s bus fare.

    Wise investment.

  34. Lefty33 Says:

    “As long as the Rays are in the east, they’ll never win a WS…except that they made one three years ago, topping the Yankees and Red Sox. The fact that they lost to the Phillies is, of course, irrelevent.”

    And like I said John they’ll never win it.

    They didn’t win it in 2006 and when the current team is 100% broken up in about 2-3 more years and they are again “rebuilding” while fighting it out with Toronto for the AL East basement think about where the Yankees and Red Sox will still be.

    Battling it out for postseason berths and pennants.

    Nice try but a worthless analogy.

  35. John Says:

    “And like I said John they’ll never win it.”

    In Lefty’s mind, the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies are just gonna divide up the next 20 World Series rings evenly.

    You can’t say that a team that has won its division twice in three years has no chance of ever winning a championship.

    This is worth mentioning: Oakland’s Big Three – Hudson, Mulder, and Zito – were drafted from 1997-1999. So it looks like Beane actually drafted two of them. So stop bitching about how it was all Alderson’s guys who won shit.

    But the biggest point, really, is this: the talent that Alderson drafted was phenomenal, but at the end of the day, the A’s still had a 40 million dollar payroll, and they had to fill in the blanks in order to go from essentially an 85 win team to a playoff team.

    Non-moneyball GM’s have used that money to sign overrated gentlemen such as Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee. That’s a good way of NOT making the playoffs.

    Beane filled in the blanks with quality, underrated, and under-appreciated talent. If he had signed some fuck like Dante Bichette with the precious little money he had to spend, he wouldn’t have appeared in the post-season four times in 6 years.

    And, this also bears mentioning.

    General Manager X takes over and using a combination of guys drafted under the previous regime (of which he was a part) and players he drafted, he takes his team to a bunch of playoff appearances before cheap ownership forces him to trade off his talent and his team goes into a down period.

    General Manager X can be Billy Beane. It can just as easily be Sandy Alderson. They have the same fucking story, more/less.

  36. Raul Says:

    They should write a book about John Hart.
    Was he responsible for all those hitters the Indians produced/found in the 1990s?

    Holy crap.

  37. John Says:

    That’s fair. Those lineups were ridiculous. They traded Richie Sexson and Brian Giles because they literally had no place to put them.

  38. John Says:

    Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay have the exact same ERA and innings pitched. That’s kinda cool.

  39. Lefty33 Says:

    “In Lefty’s mind, the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies are just gonna divide up the next 20 World Series rings evenly.”

    Did I say that John?

    What I said was that Oakland and Tampa have no chance under the current economic model that Baseball has. Until they win one piss off because as usual you have no argument.

    “Beane filled in the blanks with quality, underrated, and under-appreciated talent. If he had signed some fuck like Dante Bichette with the precious little money he had to spend, he wouldn’t have appeared in the post-season four times in 6 years”

    He had 80 million to spend in ‘07 and the A’s put up a record that was ten below .500. So even when he was given money to spend he still sucked.

    The Indians made the ALCS that year and their payroll was 19 million LESS than Oakland. The D-Backs made the NLCS that year and their payroll was 27 million LESS than the A’s. The Rockies went to the WS and their payroll was 25 million LESS than the A’s.

    Great use of his precious resources.

    Don’t forget Bratwurst Boy he’s at .471 since ‘07. If anyone is getting a pass on things it is Beane. .471 as a GM for a prolonged period of time usually means you’re about one step away from being a MLB Network analyst.

    “You can’t say that a team that has won its division twice in three years has no chance of ever winning a championship.”

    I can and I did.

    Did they win a championship?

  40. John Says:

    “He had 80 million to spend in ‘07 and the A’s put up a record that was ten below .500. So even when he was given money to spend he still sucked.”

    Literally his entire team spent time on the DL that year.

    “What I said was that Oakland and Tampa have no chance under the current economic model that Baseball has. Until they win one piss off because as usual you have no argument”

    I’ll let the Marlins know that their world titles don’t count.

  41. John Says:

    95% of winning a WS is making the playoffs in the first place.

    After that, anything can happen. A team with 116 wins can fall short of a pennant and a team with 83 can win it all. Both of these things have happened. So stop giving me this sanctimonious “they never won a title” bullshit.

  42. Lefty33 Says:

    “I’ll let the Marlins know that their world titles don’t count.”

    Way to change the subject.

  43. John Says:

    The 2003 Marlins had a 40 million dollar payroll.

    Good thing to know that they had no chance of winning a title in baseball’s economic climate.

    This way, I know that I can shit diamonds because “no chance” has literally no meaning.

  44. Chuck Says:

    “95% of winning a WS is making the playoffs in the first place.”

    I checked, no team has ever won the World Series without making the playoffs.

  45. JohnBowen Says:

    …exactly?

  46. Chuck Says:

    what, exactly?

  47. Raul Says:

    No reasonable person would suggest that once you’re in the playoffs, it’s all luck.

    If anything, it’s luck when the 116-win teams DON’T advance to the World Series.

  48. Lefty33 Says:

    “So stop giving me this sanctimonious “they never won a title” bullshit.”

    Stop trying to argue a point where you have no argument.

    Did the A’s win a title? No
    Will they as long as Beane is the GM? No
    Did they Rays win a title? No
    Will they as long as they never re-sign their own players? No

    You have no argument.

  49. Lefty33 Says:

    “The 2003 Marlins had a 40 million dollar payroll.”

    The ‘03 Marlins had a 63 million dollar payroll research boy.

    The closest team to 40 was Montreal at 45.

    Keep diggin’ John.

  50. Bob Says:

    Certainly not trying to derail the conversation, but 2 of my friends are at the Sox game today, and e-mailed me pictures of empty seats with the message “700 sellouts in a row my ass.” The Park is about 50% today.

  51. Raul Says:

    The tickets were paid for.
    That’s what sellout means, I guess.

  52. JohnBowen Says:

    “Stop trying to argue a point where you have no argument.”

    You’re literally saying that a team that made the playoffs 4 times in 6 years with a 23$ payroll “failed” because they didn’t win a title, while completely neglecting that teams far far far worse than Beane’s teams – the 06 Cardinals, 00 Yankees, 03 and 97 Marlins … ALL won world titles.

    You make the playoffs, you have a shot.

    Because you’re talking about a short series.

    For fuck’s sake…the ASTROS – a team that will lose about 105 games this year have won their series with the Phillies, a team that will win about 105 games this year.

    Were the Astros “built to win” this September series against the best team in baseball?

    No. But guess what. In 2 games, unpredictable things can happen.

    And if you think that the Athletics and Rays not winning a WS had something to do with a poor way of constructing the team, then you clearly haven’t been paying attention to a thing that has ever happened in the divisional era of baseball.

    Frankly, you sound like Colin Cowherd last year – “AARON RODGERS IS A CHOKER! AARON RODGERS WILL NEVER WIN A TITLE. AARON RODGERS IS NOT A BIG GAME QUARTERBA-” oh wait, super bowl mvp…fail.

  53. JohnBowen Says:

    “The ‘03 Marlins had a 63 million dollar payroll research boy.

    The closest team to 40 was Montreal at 45.

    Keep diggin’ John.”

    $49 million, actually. Third lowest in the National League.

    Point still stands. Small payroll, a team supposedly “not equipped to win” in the post-season, BAM 11 wins later, world champions.

  54. Bob Says:

    I think you are right. And perhaps the fact it is a day game during the school year has something to do with it as well.

  55. Raul Says:

    Well,

    There kind of IS a way to construct a team that is successful in the playoffs.

  56. Lefty33 Says:

    “The Park is about 50% today.”

    Funny you say that Bob.

    I wonder about that all the time myself.

    I’ve been a season ticket holder to the Phillies AAA team since they moved in ‘08 and even though the have pretty much led AAA and all of the minor leagues in attendance every year since ‘08 I have more often then not sat with no one in my row.

    The rows have 20 seats across and if it’s only at best my family of four where the hell are the other 16 people every game?

    I’ve heard BS from other fans “in the know” that the seats are corporate buys and or are held back by the team for their own use but I really can’t believe either.

    First of all I don’t sit behind the plate and my seats while good are not great.

    Would a company or mutiple companies bag 16 tickets a night for multiple seasons? And if it’s held back by the team for their own use but they never use them is it really a sellout when no one actually buys the tickets.

    And that issue is not just happening in my row or in my section.

    I agree with you that the economics of a “sell out” don’t make sense a lot of the time.

  57. Lefty33 Says:

    “$49 million, actually. Third lowest in the National League”

    No John 63.2.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20030722&content_id=439341&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=null

  58. JohnBowen Says:

    “There kind of IS a way to construct a team that is successful in the playoffs.”

    To the extent that there is a way to up your chances, doesn’t it mainly focus on having great 1-3 starters? How can you say Beane failed in this respect? Zito, Mulder, Hudson…3 of the top 7 or so pitchers in the AL during that time period. I mean, on a budget, how are you going to do better than those 3? I’m sure he would’ve loved to have Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling but that’s not available to every team.

  59. JohnBowen Says:

    @57

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/FLA/2003-roster.shtml

    It goes through player-by-player and details exactly what they made.

  60. Chuck Says:

    “It goes through player-by-player and details exactly what they made.”

    Which isn’t all that payroll encompasses.

    Check the link Lefty provided and read the second paragraph.

    THAT is payroll.

  61. Lefty33 Says:

    “For fuck’s sake…the ASTROS – a team that will lose about 105 games this year have won their series with the Phillies, a team that will win about 105 games this year.

    Were the Astros “built to win” this September series against the best team in baseball?”

    Another brilliant comparison John.

    Because you know in the playoffs Charlie will no doubt make sure that not starting Utley, Polanco, and Victorino like he did the last two games is high on his agenda.

  62. JohnBowen Says:

    Even without those guys, the Phillies are orders of magnitude better than the Astros, and still lost.

    Good teams lose to bad teams all the time. More importantly, great teams lose to slightly less great teams all the time, like 48% of the time, so to bring up post-season success is pretty much irrelevant.

  63. Lefty33 Says:

    “How can you say Beane failed in this respect?”

    Easily, in April they’re are 30 teams after one top spot.

    If you are one of the 29 teams that fell short you failed.

    It doesn’t matter why or how you failed, you failed.

  64. JohnBowen Says:

    “include averages of multiyear contracts”

    In other words, don’t actually consider how those multi-year contracts are divided up on a year-to-year basis.

  65. JohnBowen Says:

    “If you are one of the 29 teams that fell short you failed.
    It doesn’t matter why or how you failed, you failed.”

    It would be like calling Andy Roddick a failure at tennis…if Andy Roddick had to play with a ping-pong paddle.

  66. Lefty33 Says:

    “Good teams lose to bad teams all the time. More importantly, great teams lose to slightly less great teams all the time, like 48% of the time, so to bring up post-season success is pretty much irrelevant.”

    When did I bring up postseason success?

    I said that in the postseason, i.e. meaningful games, Charlie is not going to rest or not start three of his starters versus against the worst team in Baseball in a meaningless September game when he will.

    Obviously starting Francisco, Orr, and Martinez versus Victorino, Utley and Polanco kind of signals that you are resting guys and you really don’t care.

  67. Lefty33 Says:

    “In other words, don’t actually consider how those multi-year contracts are divided up on a year-to-year basis.”

    In other words that is how MLB calculates payroll for luxury tax purposes and any other number is wrong.

  68. Lefty33 Says:

    “It would be like calling Andy Roddick a failure at tennis…if Andy Roddick had to play with a ping-pong paddle”

    No that’s like saying that there are only two outcomes win or loss.

    There is no feel good honorable mention or extra credit for effort.

    Either you are the WS winner or you are one of the 29 teams that failed and fell short.

  69. JohnBowen Says:

    I’m talking about, for example, the 2002 A’s. They won 103 games, a year after winning 102. In both years, they lost to teams with win totals in the mid-90’s.

    That they lost in 5 games to very good games doesn’t actually mean Beane failed to build a championship caliber team. It means that in a small enough sample size, shit happens…such as a terrible Astros team winning 2 games against Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

    But let’s blame Beane for not just acquiring Barry Bonds in a trade for Terrence Long. What an idiot! Doesn’t he understand that Barry Bonds is better than Terrence long?!

  70. JohnBowen Says:

    “In other words that is how MLB calculates payroll for luxury tax purposes and any other number is wrong.”

    But see, that completely ignores how much money a given team is actually spending that year.

  71. JohnBowen Says:

    “That they lost in 5 games to very good games”

    should read: very good teams.

  72. brautigan Says:

    Connie Mack has a .486 winning pct. and is in the hall of fame.

    Billy Beane has a .471 winning pct. since 2007 and he is failure.

    You guys are funny sometimes.

  73. JohnBowen Says:

    Connie Mack, incidentally, had the same story as Beane or Alderson (twice!) …build up a base, win a lot for a few seasons, and then have to sell all your stars because cheapass ownership doesn’t want to keep paying them so you endure a few losing seasons.

    Of course, Connie Mack was ALSO the cheap-ass owner!

  74. Chuck Says:

    You’re a salesman at sporting good store with 29 other sales reps.

    On January 1st your boss says the top salesman for the year gets an all expense paid trip to Hawaii.

    The other 29 lose their jobs.

    The winner sells $10,000 worth of product.

    You finish second with $9,990.

    You failed.

  75. Mike Felber Says:

    It is just that whether you “failed” to win it all has little correlation with whether you are the best team. You can do things in terms of building your team & strategy during a short series to make it more likely you win, but still in a few games the overall strength of the team is less likely to assert itself than random chance. This was less likely to happen when there were few rounds, certainly when it was just 2 teams from each league that hit the playoffs.

    I think that this is at least a little less true in sports with less players per team.

  76. JohnBowen Says:

    “You finish second with $9,990.” … but, you’re forced to sell only jockstraps and athletic tape, while the guy that beat you was selling home gyms, aluminum bats, basketballs, footballs, football pads, baseball helmets, basketball hoops, elipticals, treadmills, and bikes.

  77. brautigan Says:

    At least the screenwriter for “Moneyball” will make this an entertaining movie. I’m not sure I’ll go see it, but at least it won’t be a dog.

  78. Chuck Says:

    Doesn’t matter.

    You and the other 28 losers can have a pity party in the unemployment line.

  79. Raul Says:

    “I’m talking about, for example, the 2002 A’s. They won 103 games, a year after winning 102. In both years, they lost to teams with win totals in the mid-90’s.

    That they lost in 5 games to very good games doesn’t actually mean Beane failed to build a championship caliber team. It means that in a small enough sample size, shit happens…such as a terrible Astros team winning 2 games against Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.”

    …Except that…he didn’t really build those teams.
    …and the Phillies have an 11-game lead in the division so who really cares about losing 2 against Houston?

  80. JohnBowen Says:

    “Except that…he didn’t really build those teams.”

    He took them from good to great on a small payroll. It’s hilarious to me that he somehow deserves no credit for that.

    “and the Phillies have an 11-game lead in the division so who really cares about losing 2 against Houston”

    Absolutely no one, as well they shouldn’t. Because its new games and it doesn’t reflect poorly on the Phillies organization, or their GM, ownership, or anyone else that in a miniscule sample space they haven’t done so hot.

    Guess what? In the Phillies last 5 games before today, they’ve lost 3, including 2 to the Astros.

    For this to happen is FAR less likely than the 95 win Yankees beating the 102 wins Astros in a 5-game series, and yet it happens.

    Shit happens in small sample sizes.

  81. Raul Says:

    Few things seem to heat up a debate like Billy Beane, Tim Raines and before the new website…Andre Dawson/Jim Rice.

    I think a newer debate needs to arise.

    Who gets elected first (if at all) to the HOF?

    Curt Schilling or Mike Mussina?

  82. Lefty33 Says:

    “He took them from good to great on a small payroll. It’s hilarious to me that he somehow deserves no credit for that.”

    Truth hurts John I know.

    Phillies Phans on most internet sites practically worship the ground that Amaro walks and give him 100% credit fortheir success yet most media people give him little respect because they are smart enough to know that he took over a WS winning team and that team has gone backwards in the prior two seasons.

    The core of the current Phillies team has little to do with Amaro and everything to do with Gillick.

  83. Chuck Says:

    What about the Braves?

    Fifteen consecutive postseason appearances and one ring.

    They were built to beat the shit out of the Padres and Expos every July, but put them against good teams in high pressure situations and they sucked hard.

    Bobby Cox is third all time in wins and is a slam dunk HOFer and is the most overrated manager ever.

  84. Raul Says:

    Ryan Howard

    2009: .931 OPS
    2010: .859 OPS
    2011: .839 OPS

  85. Chuck Says:

    “Curt Schilling or Mike Mussina.”

    Neither gets in, although vote totals and/or length of time on the ballot advantage Moose.

  86. Lefty33 Says:

    “I think a newer debate needs to arise.”

    I agree Raul but what else is there to talk about?

    Five of the six division races are over.

    The playoffs are still weeks away.

    No HOF vote in the near future.

    It’s a pretty boring landscape right now.

    But I’m abstaining, courteously, from any further Beane debate because it’s beyond pointless at this point.

  87. Lefty33 Says:

    “Ryan Howard
    2009: .931 OPS
    2010: .859 OPS
    2011: .839 OPS”

    Untreated bursitis issue in his ankle since ST of ‘10.

  88. Chuck Says:

    LOL..good one Lefty.

    Howard’s inability to hit lefties is due to bursitis?

    Someone call Adam Dunn and tell him to wear different shoes.

  89. Lefty33 Says:

    As stupid as it sounds Chuck he actually has had an issue with bursitis in his left heel and Achilles area since last season and for whatever reason he refuses to do anything with it medically other than rest it and obviously at this point it’s not going away and he’s starting to miss a few games because of it.

    That’s why Mayberry has been at 1B a few times this year.

    After they clinch a postseason berth in about ten minutes in Houston look for Howard to not play more than he will play the rest of the month.

  90. JohnBowen Says:

    “They were built to beat the shit out of the Padres and Expos every July, but put them against good teams in high pressure situations and they sucked hard.”

    Go ahead and explain how the Braves, with their THREE HOF starters, were not “built to win” in the post-season.

    I would LOVE to hear that argument.

    What nonsense is this? The Braves specifically built their team to sweep series against bad teams? How? Was Greg Maddux just good enough to beat Ken Hill, but crumbled when he saw that he had to go up against Al Leiter?

    The Braves, for the record, were 63-62 in the playoffs from 1991-2005…against the very best teams in baseball.

    Guess what? If a team that wins, on average, around 100 games a year faces opponents that win about 95 games a year, you’re not expected to be way above .500 in those games.

  91. JohnBowen Says:

    Well, the Phillies are officially in.

    Appropriate that Halladay threw a complete game 1-0 shutout to seal the deal.

  92. Lefty33 Says:

    “The Braves specifically built their team to sweep series against bad teams? How? Was Greg Maddux just good enough to beat Ken Hill, but crumbled when he saw that he had to go up against Al Leiter?”

    From a pitching standpoint yes.

    From an offensive standpoint, no.

    ‘05 Braves hit .255 in the LDS and the Astros put up 10, 7, and 7 in their 3 W’s.
    ‘04 Braves hit .265 in the LDS but the Astros hit .322 and pound them.
    ‘03 Braves hit .215 in the LDS
    ‘01 Braves hit .207 in the NLCS
    ‘00 Cardinals pound Atlanta by scoring 7,10,7 in a LDS sweep.
    ‘99 Braves hit .200 in the WS
    ‘98 Braves hit .235 in the NLCS

    The Braves in a lot their series during their run could be characterized as a team of choke artists. They regularly got out hit and in several postseason series their pitching was also miserable.

    The Braves a lot of years were a very poorly put together team on the offensive side of the ball. In the postseason from ‘98-’01 and ‘03 they sucked offensively and totally rode their pitching which is why they got so easily disposed of by postseason caliber teams were not one dimensonal like they were.

  93. JohnBowen Says:

    Wow, you mean they couldn’t just be good at everything?!

    Shocker.

  94. Chuck Says:

    Lefty..

    “Meanwhile, Phillies assistant general manager of player development and scouting Chuck LaMar resigned after four years with the team.

    LaMar made his decision during a meeting with general manager Ruben Amaro and assistant GM Benny Looper, and just days after raving about the Phillies farm system to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    “A lot of teams want to say they have the best arrangement in baseball, but we do have it here,” LaMar told the newspaper. “From Lehigh Valley to Reading to Lakewood and the spring-training facility in Clearwater, it is just a fantastic set-up.”

    LaMar had yet to make a public comment on his decision, and Amaro offered little insight. One source told the Inquirer that LaMar was frustrated that the Phillies had spent little recently in the draft to restock a system that had been depleted by trades in recent years.”

  95. Raul Says:

    There’s a reason why the Yankees beat the Braves in 1996, and it wasn’t because the Yankees had better pitching.

    They were the better overall team.

    Shocking that a team that is good at hitting and pitching might beat a team that is excellent in JUST hitting OR pitching.

    BTW, if you asked me who won Game 6 for the Yankees that year, I’d have no idea.
    It was Jimmy Key.

    Also, I know defense is great, but Atlanta had to get more offense out of Jeff Blauser and Mark Lemke. Talk about an automatic out…

  96. Chuck Says:

    I don’t think general managers should get any “credit” for wins and losses at all.

    The Jayson Werth contract was/is a joke, but he’s just one of 25 guys, and if he was putting up Albert numbers it still wouldn’t matter much in the standings.

    Thomas reminded me of a good point…Beane is a part-owner of the A’s, he makes money by not spending any.

    The A’s have been in Oakland for almost fifty years and have been successful, they had one of the great dynasties in baseball history and 20 years later had almost as successful a team.

    They’ve had Cy Young winners and MVP’s and Hall of Famers and have drawn fans and made money.

    Are the A’s “tanking” it to force the city to pony up for a new park, like they’re doing in Tampa?

    Have no idea, but wouldn’t be surprised.

    Beane has said himself, as Ringolsby pointed out in the article, that Moneyball is the work of an imaginative writer and has painted a picture of his own legacy that he’s not entirely comfortable with.

    For him to shake that label, he MUST leave Oakland and MUST win somewhere else.

    Then we’ll see what a genius he is with a $150 million payroll.

  97. JohnBowen Says:

    “They were the better overall team.”

    Seriously?

    Do you think that the better team ALWAYS wins the world series?

    Or any series for that matter?

  98. JohnBowen Says:

    “I don’t think general managers should get any “credit” for wins and losses at all.

    The Jayson Werth contract was/is a joke, but he’s just one of 25 guys, and if he was putting up Albert numbers it still wouldn’t matter much in the standings.”

    So, who picked the other 24 guys?

  99. brautigan Says:

    I still can’t believe the A’s were that good under Charlie Finley. The team hated him so much that he was somewhat of a rallying point for them to come together. Hmmm, just like the movie, “Major League”.

    Chuck wrote: “I don’t think general managers should get any “credit” for wins and losses at all.” I’m not sure that is accurate Chuck. I mean, on one level, I understand that concept clearly. Then you have a total jackass like Bill Bavasi who set back the Mariner franchise untold years by his incompetency, and so, yeah, Bavasi is responsible for many M’s losses.

  100. Raul Says:

    LOL

    26 World Series titles, John.

    Lucky every fucking time, right?

  101. Chuck Says:

    “So, who picked the other 24 guys?”

    Not the GM.

    At least not by himself.

  102. JohnBowen Says:

    They also have…what…14 WS losses? A bunch of divisional losses?

    But sure, I’ll bet the 1960 Pirates were way better than the Yankees.

  103. JohnBowen Says:

    “Not the GM.

    At least not by himself.”

    Ultimately, he’s the one responsible.

  104. Chuck Says:

    Braut..did you get a chance to talk with Grant Green last week?

  105. Chuck Says:

    Matt Moore made his ML debut tonight.

    Easy 1.2.3 first inning of work.

    Next inning puts a runner on, then tries to bust a 96 past Matt Wieters who hit it halfway to Aberdeen.

    Welcome to the show, rook.

  106. Raul Says:

    Clayton Kershaw is going for his 19th win of the season tonight against Daniel Hudson and Arizona.

  107. Raul Says:

    “They also have…what…14 WS losses?”

    How unfortunate that the Brewers haven’t been as “lucky”.

  108. JohnBowen Says:

    @107, you’re missing the entire point.

    Winning 100+ games in a regular season has little-to-nothing to do with luck.

    Whether you go 3-2 or 2-3 in a 5-game series against a team 95% as good as you are? That has a lot of chance involved, from a team-building perspective.

  109. Raul Says:

    What you’re saying, John, is that every world series winner has won largely on luck.

    Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

  110. JohnBowen Says:

    “What you’re saying, John, is that every world series winner has won largely on luck”

    Dude.

    Read what I’m writing.

    The series itself – as in, the short, best-of-7 series between the two best teams in two respective leagues (as well as the two short series that now lead up to it) can pretty much go either way, regardless of how the GM built the team. Even if the GM does a pretty average job of building his team and gets an 83-win product (once again, are we denying that the 2006 Cardinals won the World Series?)…they can win it all in a short series, or three.

    The idea that there’s a difference between a team “built to win in the regular season” but incapable of winning in the post-season is a load of premium bullshit.

    Over a 162 game season, the element of chance from a GM perspective is pretty much out the window. You do a good job, you win a large chunk of those 162 games. You sign a lot of bad contracts, you won’t win such a big chunk. Plain and simple. Getting to the playoffs isn’t chance…it’s a direct product of how a GM performs at his job. Winning once you’re there? Anything can happen.

    How many times have we seen the New York media absolutely freak the fuck out because the Yankees aren’t in first place on like April 17th? Questioning off-season decisions, saying A-Rod sucks, blah blah blah. And then they finish the season with 95-100 wins and it gets attributed to Jeter’s calm eyes or something, when in reality it was just a large sample size evening things out as they should be.

    If you want to test this out, call 7 random people and ask them if they think Sarah Palin is an intelligent human being.

    Guess what? It wouldn’t be a total shock if 4 of them responded that they thought she was.

    Now call 162 random people. You’ll probably get about 60 yes’s. Therein lies the difference with respect to sample size.

    The Phillies have the best chance of any team of winning it all. But if you were given 50/50 odds in Vegas, you would bet on the field. And if they don’t win it all? Won’t have jack-shit to do with the Phillies “not building a team that could win in the post-season.”

  111. JohnBowen Says:

    Kershaw came out after just 63 pitches tonight. He is in line to win #19, anyone know if he hurt himself or something?

  112. Raul Says:

    Ok,

    So then it figures that based on what you just said, the good teams will get to the playoffs and then it becomes largely a matter of luck.

    That’s what you’re saying. Fine.
    But you seem hesitant to declare that the World Series winner is lucky.

    I wonder why.

    See the problem I have is that you seem to intimate that once the playoffs start, a team has a 1-in-8 chance of winning the world series.

    That’s simply false.

  113. Raul Says:

    Kershaw got the win.

    He got ejected.

  114. Raul Says:

    Yankees failed to go up 4.5 games on the Red Sox as they took an extra-inning loss in Seattle.

  115. Raul Says:

    Games:
    Jason Heyward – 257
    Mike Stanton – 236

    Slash:
    Jason Heyward – .255/.363/.427
    Mike Stanton – .262/.343/.528

    Home Runs:
    Jason Heyward – 31
    Mike Stanton – 54

    RBI:
    Jason Heyward – 113
    Mike Stanton – 141

    Assists:
    Jason Heyward – 8
    Mike Stanton – 19

    Putouts:
    Jason Heyward – 421
    Mike Stanton – 474

  116. Raul Says:

    http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/09/14/moneyball-writer-michael-lewis-responds-to-keith-law-moneyball-review/

    “‘Moneyball,’ the movie, is an absolute mess of a film, the type of muddled end product you’d expect from a project that took several years and went through multiple writers and directors.” That’s how ESPN writer and former Toronto Blue Jays front office employee Keith Law opens his review of the new film ‘Moneyball,’ which he writes fails as both a movie and a baseball movie. “For starters, the lampooning of scouts, which draws from the book, isn’t any more welcome on screen (where some of the scouts are played by actual scouts) than it was on the page; they are set up as dim-witted bowling pins for Beane and Brand to knock down with their spreadsheets. It’s cheap writing, and unfair to the real people being depicted.”

    In his review, Law comes down hard on what the film cites as “Bill James bullsh-t” (James was the father of sabermetrics, the statical engine that drove Beane during the time period depicted in ‘Moneyball’), but Lewis says that wasn’t always the case.

    “I don’t understand why he goes from being — when I interviewed Keith Law, and I did, at length — he was so nasty about scouts and scouting culture and the stupidity of baseball insiders. He was the reductio ad absurdum of the person who was the smarty pants who had been brought into the game and was smarter than everybody else. He alienated people. And now he’s casting himself as someone who sees the value of the old school. I can’t see where this is all heading and why. But I learned from experience that the best thing to do is ignore it, because it goes away.”

    ——–
    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  117. JohnBowen Says:

    “See the problem I have is that you seem to intimate that once the playoffs start, a team has a 1-in-8 chance of winning the world series.

    That’s simply false.”

    Ok, that is (essentially) what I’m saying.

    No, it’s not exactly 1/8.

    But when you have a short series, and both teams are very good, what do you think the odds are that the better team wins it?

    Let’s look at last year:

    The Giants (92-70) beat the Braves (91-71).

    That’s basically 50/50. To be exact, it’s like 50.25%, maybe call it 52% for the homefield advantage if you’re feeling generous.

    So already, the Giants were just at 52%…of advancing TO THE NLCS, never mind becoming champs.

    Then they would face the Phillies or Reds. The Reds would’ve been another 52% shot, the Phillies a 48.5% shot (this is just based on their records). That averages out to about 50% again, so now we’re down to 26% of making the series. You had four possible opponents going in, and the AL is the superior league, so really, there was a less than 50% chance of winning of winning. But if we call it 50%, then we’re down to 13% overall…or roughly 1/8.

    Winning during the regular season isn’t radically different than winning in the post-season. You have to out-score and out-win opponents; just now, your opponents are much closer to your skill than an average team, and you don’t have 162 games to get the job done, but rather 5 or 7.

    Those Athletics teams who were trained only to draw walks by an evil computer? Well the 2002 team went 46-38 against teams above .500.

    They went 11-9 against the eventual World Champion Angels, who were supposedly “better built to win in the post-season.”

    They went 4-2 against the eventual NL Champion Giants, who, by your theory, were better built to win in the post-season.

    They went 6-3 against the Minnesota Twins, who would later eliminate them in a 5-game series. If the Twins were a better team for competing in the post-season (presumably because they were better suited to face other good teams) why did the A’s beat them during the regular season? Was it just that the bright October lights and brisk October weather caused the CyberWalk9000 to crumble somehow?

    There’s very very little a GM can do to make his team better equipped to handle the post-season that doesn’t also translate into winning more during the regular season.

  118. Mike Felber Says:

    The odds are not exactly 1 in 8-except rarely coincidentally-but it stands to reason that when you combine the teams varying less in quality that all teams (the regular season), & especially given how short each series is, the variation in odds of winning are not huge between teams. 1 in 10.5, 1 in 5.5…degrees of difference like this would be common as near the out edges, roughly, I just guesstimate. If I am right, the lest likely team is about twice as likely as the most likely team to take it all. But you can see that everyone still has a good chance.

    We do not have enough of a sample size to make it more than suggestive yet, but look at how often wild card teams have won, or how far they have gotten. If I am right, they should do less well in general than 1 in 8 odds, but win sometimes, & while on average no progress as far as the other teams, they should not almost entirely/overwhelmingly be eliminated in the 1st round.

    I’m not gonna even check it. This can be easily seen, & I trust that the prediction will be on target.

  119. brautigan Says:

    Chuck: Yes. I did get a chance to ask him about switching to CF, and he seems to be ok with that. I think he feels if it gets him to the show sooner (and a better chance to stick), he’s all for it. He’s really a great guy and I hope he makes it.

    I was wearing an Oregon Duck tshirt to the game and a lot of the guys wanted to talk about the game with LSU the night before. It was kind of funny, you could tell the West coast guys from the South East guys, they were sympathetic and felt Oregon blew it, and the SE guys were like “what did you expect?”.

  120. Lefty33 Says:

    “I’m not sure that is accurate Chuck. I mean, on one level, I understand that concept clearly. Then you have a total jackass like Bill Bavasi who set back the Mariner franchise untold years by his incompetency, and so, yeah, Bavasi is responsible for many M’s losses.”

    I’m also with Braut on this one.

    When Giles was the GM of the Phillies from ‘84-’87 he set the franchise back a decade by refusing to spend any money on draft pick signing or on FA’s.

    His idea that 5th largest city in America had a “small market team” (his words) and because of that they had to spend like one set the whole franchise back until Ed Wade took over eleven years later.

    When Giles was done the Phillies had one of the worst minor league systems in Baseball while having a roster that included such studs as Wally Ritchie, Joe Cowley, Steve Jeltz, Rick Schu, and Jeff Stone.

    It’s no wonder that after the ‘87 season the rest of the team’s minority owners got together and forced him out of the GM job. He was embarrassing the whole franchise.

    The GM usually is not that responsible for wins or losses but there have definitely been extreme cases when the GM is 100% for losses thru their actions or more likely inactions.

  121. Lefty33 Says:

    “Are the A’s “tanking” it to force the city to pony up for a new park, like they’re doing in Tampa?”

    Probably

    That model worked for the Pirates, Phillies, Marlins, Brewers, White Sox, Mariners, etc.

    A new park just about guarantees more butts in the seats for at least a few years and that puts more $$$ into Beane’s pocket.

  122. Lefty33 Says:

    “LaMar made his decision during a meeting with general manager Ruben Amaro and assistant GM Benny Looper, and just days after raving about the Phillies farm system to the Philadelphia Inquirer.”

    I saw his comments and the piece that Conlin did with his “fly on the wall” was interesting.

    The fact that no team in Baseball but the Mets spent less on signing money in ‘09 speaks volumes about the direction of the franchise.

    The Nats spent 11 million that year and the Phillies spent 2.7.

    I’m not saying that they should break the bank like they did on Gavin Floyd in ‘01 and go all in every year with 4 million for one guy, but clearly LaMar was having major differences with Amaro, Gillick in particular (with his comment about I’m not a Hall of Famer in the Conlin piece) and Green in terms how the system should be used and replenished.

  123. Chuck Says:

    #116..

    Two words.

    Holy

    Shit

  124. brautigan Says:

    Keith Law, the same guy who voted Javier Vasquez ahead of Chris Carpenter in the 2009 CY YOUNG voting because he pitched 26 more innings!!??! He should stick to writing about cuisine.

  125. Chuck Says:

    “He should stick to writing about cuisine.”

    Doesn’t know anything about that, either.

    Law’s a hypocrite..he’s the biggest saberhead out there…”Bill James bullshit..”????

    I hope ESPN calls him out on his flip flopping and fires his ass.

  126. brautigan Says:

    Second that motion Chuck.

  127. Chuck Says:

    I really hope Michael Lewis makes public the transcripts from his interviews with Law.

    The guy’s still bitter over the Jays firing him that he’ll do anything to throw anyone and everyone under the bus and make himself look like a saint.

    He’s a diminutive, talentless douche.

  128. Raul Says:

    As Peter Gammons has gotten older and his contributions have decreased at ESPN, the writing has gotten much, much worse.

    Disagree as I may sometimes with the likes of Gammons and Stark and Kurkjian, I can respect them as writers and I think their efforts are sincere.

    Then ESPN started hiring a bunch of clowns (I’m looking at you, Stephen A Smith, Mike Lupica, etc…).

  129. brautigan Says:

    After Rob Neyer left ESPN, I quit reading their drivel.

  130. Chuck Says:

    “As Peter Gammons has gotten older and his contributions have decreased at ESPN, the writing has gotten much, much worse.”

    That’s because he works for MLBNetwork now.

  131. Chuck Says:

    Mike & Mike are trying to arrange a charity boxing match between Kirkjian and Olney.

    Chick fight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  132. Raul Says:

    Buster Olney is the kind of name you give the runt of a litter of puppies.

    It is not a human being’s name.

  133. Bob Says:

    Holy fuck, I doubt either one of them could last 2 rounds. Winner would be the one who does not suffer a heart attack.

  134. Chuck Says:

    “Buster Olney is the kind of name you give the runt of a litter of puppies”

    His mother did, apparently.

  135. Lefty33 Says:

    “Buster Olney is the kind of name you give the runt of a litter of puppies.”

    His real isn’t much better.

    Robert Stanbury Olney III

  136. Lefty33 Says:

    “His real isn’t much better.”

    His real name isn’t much better.

  137. Chuck Says:

    Going to the game tonight, Lefty?

  138. Lefty33 Says:

    I give Olney credit for two things.

    1. He figured out a way to not work on the family’s dairy farm.

    2. He hates SABR-anything. It’s what he calls the “Moneyball Strategy” which he has referred to on Mike & Mike as a fraud and he is a huge proponent of a 100% pitching and defense small ball approach.

    Plus he’s a Yankee fan

    I respect his opinion on those points only.

  139. Raul Says:

    Where does BJ Upton play next year? Is he a free agent?

    I could have sworn he was on his last year.

  140. Lefty33 Says:

    Actually Chuck I’m not.

    It rained here all day and it’s quite cool.

    The low tonight is going to be in the 40’s.

    I’ll follow along on TV or on the radio and I’ll be there tomorrow night.

    Biggest thing about the Pigs right now that suprises me is the disappearing act of Dom Brown. The guy has not played the field in about 2-3 weeks(DH only).

    Sandberg sat him for the majority of the last week of the season and he didn’t play him in one of the first round playoff games against the P-Sox either.

    I don’t know off the top of my head but other than going 4-5 at Louisville at the end of the regular season in August he’s got to be on a 1-35 or 40 string right now.

    Matt Gelb at the Inquirer said yesterday that he hears that Charlie is still pushing for Brown to be called up but I really can’t understand why.

    Other than that the Pigs rotation of Nate Bump, Dave Bush, Brian Bass, Ryan Edell, and Scott Mathieson (He’s starting again) are why they are where they are.

  141. Lefty33 Says:

    “Where does BJ Upton play next year? Is he a free agent?”

    He’s a FA in ‘13.

    Arb 3 this year.

  142. Raul Says:

    I keep thinking San Francisco needs a bat and that maybe Upton could play there, but then I think they already have positions filled, they’re either filled by injured players or young players.

    They really need to find a middle infield bat, though.

    Wait, Beltran is a FA. Figure he’s gotta be Type-A. That’ll get them a nice draft pick.

    The AL Wildcard race is getting interesting with Boston, Tampa and Anaheim in the mix.

  143. Chuck Says:

    I have no respect for Olney at all.

    He’s admitted to fabricating stories to fill column space (Howard/Pujols trade rumor), and is so desperate to break a story that he reports stuff without verifying sources or being sure of his information (Mark Teixeira going from Atlanta to Boston).

    Gammons has been wrong before, but at least he’s accurate with what he says, if Cliff Lee ends up in Texas last minute instead of New York you can’t blame him for that.

    But sometimes things are so obvious and to STILL get it wrong, there’s no excuse.

  144. Chuck Says:

    Ryne Sandberg doesn’t seem to be the type of manager you want to piss off. I can almost see Brown being in the doghouse for not busting it, I mean a guy with his speed should hit .150 just on bunts and infield hits, going 1-40 is inexcusable.

    Maybe he’s just bored, like Montero, although if I swung like he does I’d take up tennis.

  145. Raul Says:

    What’s the old expression?
    Hustle doesn’t take a day off?

    Yeah that sounds about right.

  146. Chuck Says:

    “Speed is the only tool that doesn’t slump.”

    That, too.

    If Brett Gardner was a step slower, he’d be working a 9-5 job like the rest of us chumps.

    If Brown doesn’t get his head out of his ass, he will too.

  147. brautigan Says:

    Lefty: Why in blue blazes have the Phillies not given Mathieson a chance to play at the big boy level? I mean, they keep giving Herndon a chance to pitch (and after a terrible start, he Herndon has done better), but if they don’t plan on playing Mathieson, why not trade him? I am sure he has a lot of value, but he won’t if he keeps getting older and is still at AAA.

  148. brautigan Says:

    I don’t know about that Chuck. If Gardner was a step slower, he’d be firmly entrenched in Scranton.

  149. Raul Says:

    Happy 73rd birthday, Gaylord Perry!

    From Wikipedia:

    Like most pitchers, Perry was not renowned for his hitting ability, and in his sophomore season of 1963, his manager Alvin Dark is said to have joked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before he hits a home run.” There are other variants on the story, but either way, on July 20, 1969, just an hour after the Apollo 11 spacecraft carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, Perry hit the first home run of his career.[3]

    Perry reportedly approached the makers of Vaseline about endorsing the product and was allegedly rebuffed with a one-line postcard reading, “We soothe babies’ backsides, not baseballs.” Former Manager Gene Mauch famously quipped “He should be in the Hall of Fame with a tube of K-Y Jelly attached to his plaque.”[6]

    Gene Tenace, who caught Gaylord Perry when they played for the San Diego Padres, said: “I can remember a couple of occasions when I couldn’t throw the ball back to him because it was so greasy that it slipped out of my hands. I just walked out to the mound and flipped the ball back to him.”[7]

  150. Chuck Says:

    Perry was at an autograph signing at the All Star Fan Fest. I had seen him once before about 20 years ago at a charity game and had forgotten how tall he is.

    You see him on TV and he looks like a sumo wrestler, but he’s a very large man.

  151. John Says:

    So I saw the Kershaw ejection…man.

    That’s some weak shit.

  152. Chuck Says:

    This article is a lead story on the front page of Bleacher Report

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/842847-comparing-30-huge-mlb-stars-to-types-of-cars

  153. Chuck Says:

    Yes, John, it was.

    Larry Bowa went so far as to say the umpire should be suspended.

  154. John Says:

    Wow.

    Just. Wow.

  155. brautigan Says:

    Perry, a surly old cuss. Bless his tobacco chewing ways.

    He went to shake my hand once and I asked him if it was safe, and he laughed and said he hasn’t loaded up anything in a long time.

  156. John Says:

    …the Bleacher Report thing, not Larry Bowa.

    He’s actually onto something.

    That umpire is the Pontiac Aztec of umpiring.

  157. Chuck Says:

    Jealous, John?

    :)

  158. Raul Says:

    Hahahaha @ Brautigan

  159. John Says:

    @157, lol.

    At first I really liked the idea of having my stuff read by a wider base (in addition to you all).

    But unless you come with an inanely stupid idea that has nothing to do with baseball, you’re not going to be featured on the front page, and you’re not going to be terribly well-read.

    Power Ranking the cutest sisters of MLB All-Stars, by John Bowen.

  160. Chuck Says:

    “Top ten cities smaller than Prince Fielder’s Ass.”

  161. Lefty33 Says:

    “Lefty: Why in blue blazes have the Phillies not given Mathieson a chance to play at the big boy level?”

    My guess is three problems:

    1. He’s really doesn’t have much of a repertoire past his fastball. His heat is probably better than 95% of the guys pitching in the major leagues. He has a slider but it’s not very good, they brought in Sutter last year to teach him the split but obviously that’s hard on the shoulder and elbow which is where his injury issues have been, and the organization is very big on the change-up and he has been tinkering with that, but again it’s not very good.

    2. His injury history precludes putting a lot of trust into him that he can actually pitch a whole season with a full workload.

    3. The organization doesn’t know what to do with him.

    At the beginning of this season he was sort of the closer like he was last year but after getting a brief cup of coffee at the major league level he got passed over as the AAA closer in favor of Mike Schwimer and then he got hurt.

    When he came off the DL Schwimer was closing and Aumont had been promoted to be the 8th inning guy so they stretched him out the last month or so as a starter but he never really went more than five in any of his starts because they were babying him in fear of him reinjuring his arm and because he K’s a lot of batters his pitch counts are always high.

    His problem now is that the Phillies have no room for him as a starter at the ML level with Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley, Blanton all under contract for next year, yet they have him starting games, and with Contreras, Stutes, Schwimer, Aumont, Bastardo, De Fratus, and Kendrick likely in the pen there is a chance De Fratus stays in AAA and he gets a look but everyone else seems rock solid for next year barring an injury

    He seems like he’s got that Andy Tracy thing going where it doesn’t matter what he does the organization has him pegged as nothing more than AAA filler.

    He might get a call for the last two weeks when the Pigs season ends this weekend but I just don’t see him in the team’s plans at all. He’s buried in AAA at this point.

  162. Lefty33 Says:

    “I can almost see Brown being in the doghouse for not busting it, I mean a guy with his speed should hit .150 just on bunts and infield hits, going 1-40 is inexcusable.”

    Counting tonight’s 0-4 Brown is officially 2 for his last 38.

    Pigs are down 6-2 as Chance Chapman came into the game with the score 3-2 and the bases loaded and he just walked three straight batters.

    On a sidebar playing for Columbus is former Yankee great Nick Johnson.
    He had a monster AAA season hitting .201 and posting a sexy .316/.332/.648.

  163. brautigan Says:

    Thanks Lefty. I do pine for AAA baseball.

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