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John Orquiola
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Since: 28.2.02
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.40
Caught a free screening of Moneyball last night. Sharp, enjoyable baseball movie based on true events. Parts of it felt a lot like The Social Network in a very good way; Aaron Sorkin re-wrote the screenplay. I'm not a baseball fan so most of the information was new to me, but I'm curious as to the opinions of baseball fans.

Review with SPOILERS (backofthehead.com)



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Mr. Boffo
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Since: 24.3.02
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.87
I was a big fan of the book. A lot of baseball fans seem to be of the opinion that Billy Beane really isn't so great, that their fleeting success had more to do with the systems put in place by his predecessor Sandy Alderson, combined with them lucking into 3 great pitchers in Mulder, Zito, and Hudson. I've also heard it said that it's a little overkill for a team that has only made it past the divisional round of the playoff one time in Beane's tenure. Nor has the success carried over in recent years, as this postseason will be the 5th consecutive year where the A's aren't involved.

I don't think all that is fair. Just because you have a good strategy doesn't mean you necessarily win; any professional poker player knows that. But some would argue that the Tampa Bay Rays are now a better example of a disadvantaged team having success than Oakland is.



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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.48
    Originally posted by Mr. Boffo
    I was a big fan of the book. A lot of baseball fans seem to be of the opinion that Billy Beane really isn't so great, that their fleeting success had more to do with the systems put in place by his predecessor Sandy Alderson, combined with them lucking into 3 great pitchers in Mulder, Zito, and Hudson. I've also heard it said that it's a little overkill for a team that has only made it past the divisional round of the playoff one time in Beane's tenure. Nor has the success carried over in recent years, as this postseason will be the 5th consecutive year where the A's aren't involved.

    I don't think all that is fair. Just because you have a good strategy doesn't mean you necessarily win; any professional poker player knows that. But some would argue that the Tampa Bay Rays are now a better example of a disadvantaged team having success than Oakland is.

Even during that time frame you could make an argument that the Minnesota Twins were doing more with about the same resources than the A's were, and sustained their success (such as it was) over a longer period of time.

The list of 20 players Beane would have drafted in a perfect world back in 2002 shows that things were just as much a crap shoot for the A's as anyone else. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moneyball:_The_Art_of_Winning_an_Unfair_Game#Beane.27s_list

Perhaps the most important legacy of Moneyball is that it introduced advanced sabermetrics to a much wider base of baseball fans, so that many more fans are able to look beyond BA/HR/RBI or W/L/SV to gauge a player's performance.




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BoromirMark
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Since: 8.5.02
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.53
    Originally posted by spf
    Perhaps the most important legacy of Moneyball is that it introduced advanced sabermetrics to a much wider base of baseball fans, so that many more fans are able to look beyond BA/HR/RBI or W/L/SV to gauge a player's performance.



This right here. 'Moneyball' isn't about Billy Beane, because as has been stated the A's have never even won the American League let alone the World Series (and Minnesota/Tampa are much better small-budget successes), it's about how sabermetrics have changed the game.

But instead we get a steady stream of "Billy Beane is awesome!" praise that seems totally out-of-whack with the actual history and performance of the team.




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John Orquiola
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Since: 28.2.02
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.40
    Originally posted by BoromirMark
      Originally posted by spf
      Perhaps the most important legacy of Moneyball is that it introduced advanced sabermetrics to a much wider base of baseball fans, so that many more fans are able to look beyond BA/HR/RBI or W/L/SV to gauge a player's performance.



    This right here. 'Moneyball' isn't about Billy Beane, because as has been stated the A's have never even won the American League let alone the World Series (and Minnesota/Tampa are much better small-budget successes), it's about how sabermetrics have changed the game.

    But instead we get a steady stream of "Billy Beane is awesome!" praise that seems totally out-of-whack with the actual history and performance of the team.


Sounds like you wouldn't enjoy the Moneyball movie, which is 95% about Billy Beane. It certainly isn't a documentary on the impact of sabermetrics on baseball, though I'd be interested to see one too.



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Since: 9.1.02
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.22
I will probably see this because I read the book and am familiar with Beane's story. Based on trailers alone though, I don't know. It looks *really* hokey (cue dramatic shot of David Justice drawing a WALK!) I don't see that it's worth it to dramatize this for the big screen. Is it something that *can* be dramatized for the big screen (David Justice drawing a WALK??)? The climax of the trailer - Hatteberg hitting a HR - is pretty funny to me.

I know I'm pre-judging here.



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Since: 5.9.08

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.90
He gave more math to a fanbase that at its core are Math nerds, yay? I never saw Moneyball has a long term strategy. It works if you have a great draft and some good key players, but its not a plan I would ever use. Even for all the success the Twins and Rays had, they are usually out in the first round of the playoffs neither is going to see a World Series. Also, as good of a team the Rays are they still can't get people into the stadium and like the Pirates survive on the TV money.

(edited by lotjx on 2.9.11 1013)


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spf
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.48
    Originally posted by lotjx
    I never saw Moneyball has a long term strategy.

I'm not sure where "trying to build the best possible team within your budget" fails as a long term strategy. I guess if you read Moneyball simply as "OMG WALKS AND COLLEGE PLAYERS AND STUPID OLD SCOUTS~!" then it could be seen as a strategy with long-term failings, especially as now everyone is doing the same sort of things that the A's did in the early part of the decade (except for not drooling over high school kids).





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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.90
    Originally posted by spf
      Originally posted by lotjx
      I never saw Moneyball has a long term strategy.

    I'm not sure where "trying to build the best possible team within your budget" fails as a long term strategy. I guess if you read Moneyball simply as "OMG WALKS AND COLLEGE PLAYERS AND STUPID OLD SCOUTS~!" then it could be seen as a strategy with long-term failings, especially as now everyone is doing the same sort of things that the A's did in the early part of the decade (except for not drooling over high school kids).




Because when you are dealing with the amount of money players get, there is no such thing as a budget. There are too many good players out there that having a "budget" is never going to work. If there were a salary cap then Moneyball would work, but when you got teams more then just the Yankees and Red Sox out spending you almost 2 to 1 you are not going to field a good team long term. You are going to field a team that is good for maybe 2 to 3 years while being mediocre through the rest of it. The best thing to happen to the Twins was being in a crap division. The Rays was more of an anomaly than anything else.

(edited by lotjx on 2.9.11 1247)


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Since: 2.1.02
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.48
This post is perplexing in so many different ways.

Time to steal from Ken Tremendous.


    Because when you are dealing with the amount of money players get, there is no such thing as a budget.

I'm not sure what the plan for running a baseball team is without a budget. Building a printing press to create extra cash? Pay players in magic beans? Have the team get 400,000 credit cards and max them all out?


    There are too many good players out there that having a "budget" is never going to work.

Perhaps this is the point where we define the term "budget"

budg·et   [buhj-it] noun, adjective, verb, -et·ed, -et·ing.
noun
1. an estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expense for a given period in the future.
2. a plan of operations based on such an estimate.
3. an itemized allotment of funds, time, etc., for a given period.
4. the total sum of money set aside or needed for a purpose: the construction budget.
5. a limited stock or supply of something: his budget of goodwill.

I would say definitions 1-4 apply here. And every team has one. Even the Yankees. Theirs however is of course much larger than many teams, in the way the Bill Gates household budget is larger than mine.


    If there were a salary cap then Moneyball would work, but when you got teams more then just the Yankees and Red Sox out spending you almost 2 to 1 you are not going to field a good team long term.


Currently major league rosters comprise 25 players per team. The 2011 All-Star team had over 80 players on it. Even if somehow the Yankees and Red Sox decided to buy an all-star at every position there are going to be plenty of them left over. I suppose this argument might be germane specifically to teams who play in the AL East, as the performance of the Yankees and Red Sox will directly impact their playoff chances. However to the other 25 teams in baseball their ability to go to the playoffs and possibly even win the World Series (something that has been done by multiple teams who aren't the Yankees or Red Sox in past years) is at worst mildly impacted by the decisions of those two high-budget teams.


    You are going to field a team that is good for maybe 2 to 3 years while being mediocre through the rest of it.

This is not untrue, but utterly irrelevant to the discussion and seems to have no point. Should a team cease trying to succeed because they may not succeed without end? Is there something inherent in advanced statistics that makes baseball teams who don't spend large amounts of money more prone to fail? Is this somehow not the case in other leagues that have more stringent salary caps?


    The best thing to happen to the Twins was being in a crap division. The Rays was more of an anomaly than anything else.

Okay. The Twins are a bad example because their division isn't as good as the AL East. The A's are a bad example because they never went to the World Series. The Rays are a bad example because you don't think they really count.

So what exactly is the point then? That small market teams would be better off to ignore everything that happened the last ten years and use wins, RBI, and how sweet a player's swing looks to make decisions? That every team should spend $200 million per season? That the team you said would never see a World Series was just in one three years ago? That your point is as elusive and slippery as a TNA storyline?







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lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.90
Ok, the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and number of other teams don't have a budget. Its not like they go into the season, saying we can spend such and such money. They go into the season saying who can we keep, get and trade for? That is different from the Moneyball approach of this X money and we can not go above X. There is no X for those other teams. The only X is how many All Stars can we snag during the off season. Should there be? That is an entirely different debate.

We also have to admit in your All Star analogy that some of those All Stars like the Pirates are sympathy All Stars. Even minus that you do have an extra All Stars in the snubs of that year, but not that many. There is a giant difference between a team with 2 or 3 All Stars than a team with 7 or 8. You need a team that is willing to spend money. You need at least 4 to 5 All Stars some of them every day players to compete. In Moneyball, it seems the idea is draft well, develop a good player, let them play for a year or two then wait for a big team to grab them negating the ton of money you spent on training on them. It is better to spend the money to keep the player than it is to have them as a short time. Those players can be the concrete to the foundation of a really a good team instead of trade bait.

I don't want small market teams to be the TNA of baseball, but this is not a good plan. The plan should be to build up your players, get a good manager that make them a decent watchable team that people will pay money to see or buy their merchandise and then use the TV money to keep them or add to your core. Yet, you have owners like the Pirates that for over a decade have used that TV money to linear their pockets. And this year when they had a decent shot at being in the playoffs they got guys who turned out to be busts. The reason why is they don't know how to play the free agent game and that is another problem with Moneyball. If you keep playing inside your own team when you go out to the free agency world, you are unprepared and free agency is now a huge part of baseball you can't ignore.



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Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Mr. Boffo
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Since: 24.3.02
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.87
The Rays and the Athletics have two of the worst ballparks in the league. According to Nate Silver's analysis of yelp.com rankings, by far the four worst ballparks are the stadia of Oakland, Tampa, Florida, and Toronto. I think it's not surprising that all four of these are multi-use stadiums, which are designed to also hold football games in the same facility. It's also no surprise that all four teams are replacing or attempting to replace said stadia.

I mention this because a poor stadium affects fan turnout, and in baseball, unlike football, it's still stadium revenue that is king. The Rays and Athletics aren't sticking to a budget because they're cheap; they do it because that's all the money they have. I agree that winning for short periods of time is the best they can hope for, but what's the alternative? Contraction? Do we just want the Yankees to play the Red Sox 60 times a year?



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Llakor
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Since: 2.1.02
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#13 Posted on
    Originally posted by lotjx
    Ok, the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and number of other teams don't have a budget.


I think know that you are confusing a budget (see definition above) which can be increased or decreased based on needs/events and a salary cap.

The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies all have budgets. They are just larger than the other teams and they have more flexibility to adjust them upwards.

But those increases in the budget do have to be justified, even if sometime the justification makes no sense or little sense.

Take the Indians bringing in Thome.

They increased their budget to bring him in, justifying that increase in budget on the (reasonable) hope that they will sell more tickets and Thome merchandise by bringing him back and (slightly more wishful thinking) the hope that Thome will help them win the division.



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Since: 8.10.03

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
    Originally posted by lotjx
    Ok, the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and number of other teams don't have a budget. Its not like they go into the season, saying we can spend such and such money. They go into the season saying who can we keep,get and trade for? That is different from the Moneyball approach of this X money and we can not go above X. There is no X for those other teams. The only X is how many All Stars can we snag during the off season. Should there be? That is an entirely different debate.


They all have budgets. They all have an "X". Just because those budgets may exceed some other teams' budgets by 2-3 times doesn't make it not so. There are thresholds that they are not going above, otherwise those teams would have
a roster full of All Stars and that simply is not the case.

    Originally posted by lotjx
    We also have to admit in your All Star analogy that some of those All Stars like the Pirates are sympathy All Stars.


And some of those All Stars are voted in by fans simply by name recognition or the popular team they play for, not on performance. Some of those Yankees and Sox have not always been the most deserving.

    Originally posted by lotjx
    In Moneyball, it seems the idea is draft well, develop a good player, let them play for a year or two then wait for a big team to grab them negating the ton of money you spent on training on them. It is better to spend the money to keep the player than it is to have them as a short
    time. Those players can be the concrete to the foundation of a really a good team instead of trade bait.


You're really misunderstanding the "Moneyball" approach. The philosophy is to allocate your resources effectively by finding areas of player performance that are undervalued by the rest of the market, utilize your farm system to develop cheap players that fit that philosophy as well, and retain veteran players with what is hoped to be sensible contracts that won't financially hinder future success. It's not simply "Let's spend money on players that walk." Or "Let's trade a player once he starts making millions." Yes, small market teams are not going to be able to fill a roster paying every player $12+ million per year but then neither are the Yankees, either. Small market teams will try to trade players as they start to price themselves out of their budget and maximize the return with younger, cheaper talent that has star or superstar potential. The Marlins didn't trade Josh Beckett for peanuts, they received Hanley Ramirez in return.

And even though the Yankees are able to afford quite a few of those types of heavy salaries, they also end up getting hamstrung by them as well when a player starts to diminish(AJ Burnett, anyone?)Also,a larger budget doesn't guarantee success either. How many World series have the Cubs, Dodgers or Mets been to in the past 10 years? How many have the Marlins or the Rays been to?

The "Moneyball" philosophy is just that, a philosophy, not a guarantee for success. Quite a few of the better baseball minds argue that getting to the playoffs is what's important and from there it's a crapshoot. In a short series it's not always the overall best team that wins but the one with the hottest hand at the time. The 2004 St Louis Cardinals had the best record in baseball but were swept by a Boston team that was lucky to have made it that far. Conversely, the 2006 St Louis Cardinals had one of the worst regular season records of a team to make the playoffs ever, but ended up winning it all. Crap.shoot.

The A's found a philosophy that suited the financial resources at their disposal and made the playoffs 5 times in the 2000s. That's pretty good for a small market team. And I would argue the reason they haven't continued to be as successful is that the rest of the league caught up to the statistics that they were placing value on and Beane hasn't been able to find a new market inefficiency to exploit.
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Since: 5.9.11
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#15 Posted on
Looks like an awesome movie. I can't wait for it come on to DVD soon as a new DVD relaeses. Do you think it will be nominated for an oscar?

{ Plug removed. I get suspicious of plugs in first posts by new users - Ed. }

(edited by CRZ on 5.9.11 1516)
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#16 Posted on
MONEY BALL OR STEROID BALL?

Billy Beane looked a lot more like a genius when “Money Ball” was written than he does now as the “Money Ball” movie is about to come out.

Was it all about his new methods of evaluating players or was it all about steroids?

http://www.nationalreview.com/right-field/277958/steroid-testing-and-death-moneyball-neil-minkoff#





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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.97

There's a good article in SI this week about Theo Epstein and how he is using the Moneyball/Advanced Stats/Sabermetrics model, but has the advantage of a 9 figure payroll that Beane never had.

Also, there are some who say that Beane's success had less to do with Moneyball and more to do with Mulder/Hudson/Zito.



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Since: 19.2.10
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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.66
    Originally posted by odessasteps

    There's a good article in SI this week about Theo Epstein and how he is using the Moneyball/Advanced Stats/Sabermetrics model, but has the advantage of a 9 figure payroll that Beane never had.

    Also, there are some who say that Beane's success had less to do with Moneyball and more to do with Mulder/Hudson/Zito.
Mulder and Hudson were gone after '04 and they were pretty good in '05 and not only made the playoffs in '06 but won a series and Zito was awful in '06 with a fip over 5.



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Since: 19.2.10
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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.66
Good to see Loljk is as clueless about Baseball as he is about Wrestling. Look at the success of the Red Sox who use sabermetrics and even the A's of the 80's who started the sabermetric movement in the 80's with Sandy Alderson at the helm. Even the Yankees are in on the sabermetric movement. This is kinda why the A's are no longer at the top of the heap because teams are doing what the A's used to do. Oh andloljk for you to just dismiss what the Rays have done the last four years is beyond ridiculous.

(edited by graves9 on 23.9.11 0256)

(edited by graves9 on 23.9.11 0301)

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Since: 19.2.10
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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.66
    Originally posted by lotjx
    He gave more math to a fanbase that at its core are Math nerds, yay? I never saw Moneyball has a long term strategy. It works if you have a great draft and some good key players, but its not a plan I would ever use. Even for all the success the Twins and Rays had, they are usually out in the first round of the playoffs neither is going to see a World Series. Also, as good of a team the Rays are they still can't get people into the stadium and like the Pirates survive on the TV money.

    (edited by lotjx on 2.9.11 1013)
Uhh the Rays made it to the world series back in '08. What in the world are you talking about? And with Jennings, Longo, Zobrist and that awesome rotation they might make it back to the world series sooner than later.



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