Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Baseball Tonight rant...

Spring is in the air, the magical strains of ESPN's Baseball Tonight drift out of my TV (for baseball fans from the UK, Baseball Tonight is like sweet, sweet candy for the baseball starved soul) and I hear in the intro that the crew will be reviewing the NL and AL West - useful I think, I can steal lines and impress Neil M with my knowledge (if I had, I wouldn't have owned up - someone could have told Neil in the comments section).

Then Harold Reynolds starts talking... and ripping the "Moneyball" approach...

Can someone please sit down these idiots that want to curry favor with the old school and explain exactly what Moneyball was about? It wasn't about Billy Beane, it wasn't an anti small ball agenda, it wasn't about waiting on the three run bomb - it was about identifying skills that the baseball market was undervaluing (through trades, the free agent market or draft), and paying that low price to allow them to allocate resources elsewhere - what is so damn controversial about that? Those undervalued skills will undoubtedly change over time, and the makeup of the A’s will (is?) change over time to reflect these new valuations.

So when Harold Reynolds rants about how he "just didn't buy into that Moneyball thing" and that the A's may be "terrible without the big 3" - I was left thinking, please, please, please let the A's whip butt this year ....partly to prove these idiots wrong, but mainly to deny them the pleasure of future Baseball Tonight appearances diminishing the A’s achievements over the last few years as a simple product of pitching luck.

If they do fail to make the play-offs this season (hang on didn’t they miss the play-offs in 2004?) it won’t be because of a failing in the Moneyball approach - it will simply be because the 2005 combination of talent and experience is not quite good enough to compete with other teams in the AL West.

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