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Thursday, March 10, 2011

New book takes apart the Bill James-Moneyball myths

How did newbie-blogger Murray Chass get a book deal so fast?

A new book, just released by McFarland and Company, promises to create shock waves in the baseball world. The Beauty of Short Hops: How Chance and Circumstance Confound the Moneyball Approach to Baseball exposes the myths perpetrated by the bestselling book Moneyball and the philosophy of baseball that it described. Moneyball celebrated and accelerated the statistics-obsessed revolution in understanding baseball started by Bill James. Today, major league front offices are increasingly dominated by people who believe in this approach (often referred to as “sabermetrics”).

The Beauty of Short Hops demonstrates that the Moneyball approach is doubly doomed. First, it fails on its own terms: it cannot make baseball a predictable game wholly understandable in numerical terms. Indeed, the teams which use this approach have not fared well. Second, the Moneyball approach blocks out what is most compelling about the sport – its relentless capacity to surprise. The authors watched all 162 Red Sox games in 2009, and catalog the crazy events (such as a game turning on a ball striking a pigeon in the outfield) that enrich baseball and defeat the best-laid plans of sabermetricians.

Former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent calls The Beauty of Short Hops “a welcome book for those of us who have long questioned the focus on statistics in baseball. . . . Messrs Hirsch take apart the Bill James-Moneyball myths.” Library Journal deems the book “highly recommended to both fans and opponents of sabermetrics.”

Repoz Posted: March 10, 2011 at 11:41 AM | 64 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, books, history, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. JRVJ Posted: March 10, 2011 at 11:52 AM (#3767821)
1. Well, it's a sure sign of the health of American capitalism that the anti-Moneyball market is being serviced like this;

2. It is a sad sign for American public discourse that this book seems to be attacking a strawman of what Moneyball was about (i.e., that there can be success in valuing what others do not value).

3. It's curious but I'd say good that this book is coming out at the same time as J. Keri's book, which is a different slant on the ultimate Moneyball premise (that there are many ways to skin a cat, but that pricing what others do not price or doing things different than other teams can be very valuable).
   2. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: March 10, 2011 at 12:09 PM (#3767823)
They transcribed a whole John Sterling broadcast for the opening chapter, which lays out the central thesis of the book that baseball, well you just never know what's going to happen, Suzyn!
   3. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: March 10, 2011 at 12:54 PM (#3767827)
did you feel that?? was that .. a shockwave??
   4. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: March 10, 2011 at 01:00 PM (#3767828)
prediction: there will be no shockwaves
   5. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: March 10, 2011 at 01:09 PM (#3767830)
why Babe Ruth’s failed stolen base attempt to end the 1926 World Series may actually have been a shrewd play

And for all these years I thought it ended the Yankees chance to win that World Series. See, you never stop learning!
   6. Dash Carlyle Posted: March 10, 2011 at 01:18 PM (#3767835)
This is the author.

Let's try something...

The Beauty of False Confessions addresses the hijacking of justice by professional expert witnesses, the approach to law made famous by Alan Hirsch. The lenient, pro-criminal approach championed by Hirsch has infiltrated the law and now guides everything from Miranda warnings to Supreme Court decisions.

The Beauty of False Confessions argues that excessive attention to the niceties and technicalities of criminal law sucks the life out of the judiciary, obscuring the great, odd, and spontaneous confessions that make trials compelling. The book’s far-ranging material will captivate the casual justice-seeker and trial junkie alike.

But that would be ideological.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:02 PM (#3767841)
The book illuminates why Rickey Henderson’s base stealing was underrated


Whew, finally Rickey might get some credit.
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:03 PM (#3767843)
Does the book tell a story? If not, no one will care.
   9. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:08 PM (#3767845)
My estimation of Fay Vincent has fallen.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#3767846)
I want to read the scout book on the Braves, and I would love to read a book on the Twins and their success, but I just don't really understand the purpose of a book like this.

The authors seem to think people who follow the statistical bent of baseball don't enjoy the game, seem to think that they can predict with 100% certainty what will happen, and of course the argument that attention to stats sucks the life out of sport...I thought being a fan of non-winning team sucks the life out of a sport.

How does Maris not receiving any intentional walks invalidate the moneyball approach?
and of course as mentioned the fact that these writers just don't seem intelligent enough to even understand what Moneyball was about makes this book less appealing.

I guess getting the blurb and of course the eventual link on Primer will help generate buzz for the book.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#3767847)
Anyone who reads Bill James, and comes away with the idea that he thinks baseball is entirely predictable, or that unexpected events aren't part of what makes baseball great, that person is, in the parlance of our times, doin it wrong.
   12. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:19 PM (#3767848)
Anyone who reads Bill James, and comes away with the idea that he thinks baseball is entirely predictable, or that unexpected events aren't part of what makes baseball great, that person is, in the parlance of our times, doin it wrong.

Of course they are, but how many times have we read here that we should dismiss the opinions of contemporary players, scouts and writers? I often have to wonder whether those people have ever read Bill James.
   13. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:25 PM (#3767851)
I want to read the scout book on the Braves


If you're talking about the one I think you're talking about, you may want to reconsider. In theory, it should've been interesting and insightful, but in practice, not so much.
   14. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3767854)
did you feel that?? was that .. a shockwave??

prediction: there will be no shockwaves


Laughter is a form of shockwave.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:31 PM (#3767855)
Of course they are, but how many times have we read here that we should dismiss the opinions of contemporary players, scouts and writers? I often have to wonder whether those people have ever read Bill James.


to some extent you have to dismiss the scouts and others, memory is a tricky beast and bias creeps up in everything. I always point out how beloved a player is who starts out hot and then can't perform, but the fans fall in love with the player and see no wrong even after weeks of futility, the reverse is also true. Factor in the extreme subjective nature of scouting and that there was really no check and balances to ensure that a scout was actually good or any type of training other than years in the majors/minors and you have a profession that is filled with a wide range of quality personel, some are obviously going to be great at their jobs and treat it like a professional, others will skirt on by since there is almost no supervision when they get out in the field. I imagine that 'advance' scouts are probably better on the whole at their job than talent scouts as that has some level of supervision.

On this site we appreciated people like ChadBradford Wannabee who could explain the mechanical aspects who seemed to take the job seriously etc so it's not like the scouting concept is completely dismissed(although there was at least one person who bagged on CBW) Heck I doubt that there is any person on this site who wouldn't love to have all the scouting reports in digital format, it's a treasure trove of information that could really help validate scouts or be useful in potentially fixing flaws in the system.

NOTE: I think over the past 10-15 years or so, that a lot of the flaws have been fixed, everything I've read on here(articles and other stuff) has seemed to show that the system has gotten a lot more professional. (Cellphones and the internet kinda forced that to happen)
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3767857)
If you're talking about the one I think you're talking about, you may want to reconsider. In theory, it should've been interesting and insightful, but in practice, not so much.


Scouts Honor (I think) I haven't picked it up yet but I think that one of my future goals is to get at least one book on everyteam, that somewhat tells a story. I also like the fact that it was written somewhat in response to Moneyball, but I have a funny feeling it's another person that doesn't get what Moneyball was. (which is funny, it's in the title, it's not stat ball, it's Money ball)
   17. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3767863)
The difference between Scout's Honor and Moneyball is that Lewis is a better writer than the guy who wrote Scout's Honor (don't remember the name right now). Agree or disagree with Moneyball but he focused on players (Bradford, Hatteberg, Jeremy Brown) that represented that whole "market inefficiency" thing well.

Scout's Honor spent a lot of time giving the Braves credit for drafting Francoeur who was a first round pick that said he would go to college if a team other than the Braves picked him. I'm all for giving the Braves' scouting guys credit but the book never found that guy that no one else liked that their scouts nailed.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3767869)
I liked Three Nights in August(of course) and that had at least one rant against Moneyball, but Bissinger is probably a better writer than the Scouts Honor guy also. Again I would love to see someone do the Twins over the past decade, they are clearly the other side of the coin of the Moneyball "stat" approach, and have been more successful longer in the regular season(their #### don't work in the playoffs either, unless you want to go back about two decades).

And of course imagine a writer who is in the locker room of the White Sox for a full year, and in the front office (it would have been even better if he was there when Oney was there)

You are right though, Moneyball does a good job of telling the story, you flip through the book pretty quickly and I think any book that tries to emulate that, needs to understand why the book worked.
   19. dlf Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3767870)
the guy who wrote Scout's Honor (don't remember the name right now).


Bill Shanks.
   20. BDC Posted: March 10, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3767871)
How does Maris not receiving any intentional walks invalidate the moneyball approach?

Good question. I guess I could RTFB, and I still might. But when one runs across a "teaser" item like this, it's usually fun to think about it. If it's not fun to think about, the item is nonsense.

Who draws intentional walks? It's always a relative matter. You draw an IBB when you are better than the hitter on deck. Maris spent most of 1961 batting ahead of Mickey Mantle, enough said. The team's leaders in IBBs were Mantle himself, Skowron, and Blanchard, who tended to bat in front of weaker hitters: Mantle because he was Mantle, and the other two because they batted lower in the order.

OK, so what. This invalidates Moneyball because ... Moneyball likes guys who walk. Moneyball values guys like Barry Bonds who draw a lot of IBBs. Barry Bonds actually isn't that good a player because it's all just luck anyway, you might have a great year and draw no IBBs at all. I'm running out of ideas here. Help!
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3767875)
about the intentional walk, the accepted stat wisdom is that intentional walks are bad more often than not. So my guess is that the writer is saying that pitchers should have walked Maris more and he wouldn't have hit the 61 homeruns, at least that is my guess. Of course preventing a person from getting a record isn't remotely a goal of a team, winning games is the goal. I'm not sure how avoiding intentionally putting someone on base in front of Mickey ####### Mantle is a bad strategy. Mickey Mantle hit into TWO double plays that year, walking someone in front of him isn't the best option.

note: looking at the splits it claims three double plays, not sure which is right. Either way I don't see how anyone stat based or traditional base would argue that you intentionally walk Maris to face a superior hitter in Mantle, who never grounds into double plays and was a faster player even if you get the force in front of him, and was a switch hitter so you aren't even going for a platoon advantage.
   22. AROM Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3767876)
I read Scout's honor. Shanks indeed is no Michael Lewis when it comes to writing talent. I'd love to read a well written book about scouting players, preferably one that ignored Moneyball and sabermetrics entirely instead of wasting time attacking a caricature of those.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3767882)
I'd love to read a well written book about scouting players, preferably one that ignored Moneyball and sabermetrics entirely instead of wasting time attacking a caricature of those.
Basically, a new Dollar Sign on the Muscle? (And, agreed.)
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3767884)
Either way I don't see how anyone stat based or traditional base would argue that you intentionally walk Maris to face a superior hitter in Mantle, who never grounds into double plays and was a faster player even if you get the force in front of him, and was a switch hitter so you aren't even going for a platoon advantage.

Yeah, not walking somebody in front of the 6th best hitter (by rate stats - OPS+, wRC+) of all time seems like pretty solid conventional wisdom (stat and trad).
   25. bobm Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#3767888)
[18] And of course imagine a writer who is in the locker room of the White Sox for a full year, and in the front office (it would have been even better if he was there when Oney was there)

They could call it Oneyball.
   26. Vida Blew Over the Legal Limit Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:45 PM (#3767896)
So then this is the baseball equivalent to the Tea Party. Have fun at your little "I hate stats, but I'm going to use stats to fight them" rally.
   27. Clemenza Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:46 PM (#3767897)
If someone who is trying to discredit something is also allowed to define what that thing is his job becomes pretty easy. I'd love to read a book that thoughtfully and honestly attempts to question stats but that book will not suggest things like this: "it fails on its own terms: it cannot make baseball a predictable game wholly understandable in numerical terms". Since this isn't what SABR is attempting to do there is little value in proving that it doesn't do it.
   28. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:49 PM (#3767900)
So then this is the baseball equivalent to the Tea Party. Have fun at your little "I hate stats, but I'm going to use stats to fight them" rally.

This book has a xenophobic undercurrent?
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:51 PM (#3767901)
I did forget that Mantle missed 9 games that year, maybe they were talking about those games where Mantle wasn't playing that he should have been walked. Of course considering that Mantle was only intentionally walked 9 times that year, it implies that even the best hitter of the time didn't get walked more than once every 17 games or so.
   30. Vida Blew Over the Legal Limit Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:57 PM (#3767905)
This book has a xenophobic undercurrent?

Probably, because Strawmen always sway in the breeze of intolerant rhetoric.
   31. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 10, 2011 at 03:57 PM (#3767906)
It has been a long time but this has always stuck in my head as a very good book though with a very sad ending.
   32. AROM Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:04 PM (#3767912)
Did you know that Roger Maris, in the record-breaking season when he slugged 61 home runs, received zero intentional walks? The authors explain why this curious datum helps expose the shortcomings of the Moneyball approach.


Wow. I'm actually curious as to what kind of weird stretch the authors make to connect these ideas. Here's a political equivalent:

Did you know that in 1824, John Quincy Adams was elected president despite receiving only 30 percent of the popular vote? The authors explain why this curious datum helps expose the shortcomings of sustained deficit spending.
   33. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3767916)
Second, the Moneyball approach blocks out what is most compelling about the sport – its relentless capacity to surprise. The authors watched all 162 Red Sox games in 2009, and catalog the crazy events (such as a game turning on a ball striking a pigeon in the outfield) that enrich baseball and defeat the best-laid plans of sabermetricians.


So they're saying the results of a small sample of games, such as a single contest or a short series of them, is difficult to predict, the outcome something of a crapshoot.
   34. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3767924)
Phew! I've been waiting for a Bill James thread to post a question.... has he ever published his method of leading indicators to forecast whether a team would improve or decline from their prior-season record and by how much?

I've got a bunch of his books but never seen how he arrives at it. I've seen the high level view somewhere (age of team, strength of AAA team, second half record, etc), but haven't ever seen how he puts a number to it saying a team's leading indicators are up 18.1 or down 5.8 or whatever.
   35. Andrew Edwards Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3767928)
Revolutionary new insight: Random variations, rather than being the reason we have statistics, actually invalidate them!

This one time, I saw a pitcher hit a game winning home run. I know "statistics" say that pitchers are bad hitters, but that doesn't value "the short hop". I will not rest until the Jays bat their pitcher cleanup, to take advantage of this insight.

Also one time a pigeon got hit by a base ball. Take that centuries of mathematical analysis and reasearch on random events and making them tractable with statistical models!
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3767930)
"This book is wrong! ...and I say that without reading it" --Joe Morgan ..... and BBTF?
   37. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:25 PM (#3767931)
"This book is wrong! ...and I say that without reading it" --Joe Morgan ..... and BBTF?

Jeff Francoeur should not have written this book!
   38. bond1 Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:44 PM (#3767938)
Somebody needs to write a book about how umpires influence the outcome of a game. I umpire senior league and high school games and I know I can add/subtract 5 runs a game simply by expanding/contracting the strikezone by a few inches.
   39. DA Baracus Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:52 PM (#3767943)
"why Billy Beane’s A’s have flopped and the Minnesota Twins soared"

You mean the Twins that haven't won a playoff series since 2002?
   40. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#3767948)
You mean the Twins that haven't won a playoff series since 2002?

See what I mean? Jeff Francoeur don't know sh1t!
   41. Danny Posted: March 10, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3767953)
Second, the Moneyball approach blocks out what is most compelling about the sport – its relentless capacity to surprise. The authors watched all 162 Red Sox games in 2009, and catalog the crazy events (such as a game turning on a ball striking a pigeon in the outfield) that enrich baseball and defeat the best-laid plans of sabermetricians.

Typical traditionalists, ascribing what they can't predict to ####### luck.
   42. Gamingboy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#3767957)
You mean the Twins that haven't won a playoff series since 2002?


Wait, they've soared? I mean, yeah, winning divisions is one definition of "soaring", but they always lose to the Yankees. I mean, they'd probably soar if they didn't always draw the Yankees every year they would go soaring.

Oh wait, that happened and they lost to....


The Athletics!



NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
   43. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 10, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3767959)
So they're saying the results of a small sample of games, such as a single contest or a short series of them, is difficult to predict, the outcome something of a crapshoot.

And isn't this part of a quote by Mr. Moneyball himself, Billy Beane? This discussion is like a mobius strip!
   44. markj111 Posted: March 10, 2011 at 05:06 PM (#3767963)
I have been a Braves fan for 50 years (my father was a Braves fan). My three favorite moments:

1. 95 WS
2. Entire 91 season, except for the last game
3. Learning that John Sterling would no longer be a Braves announcer
   45. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: March 10, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3768009)
The Beauty of Short Hops demonstrates that the Moneyball approach is doubly doomed. First, it fails on its own terms: it cannot make baseball a predictable game wholly understandable in numerical terms.


Who is saying that baseball can be condensed to numerical terms that make it predictable?
   46. McCoy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#3768026)
I read Scout's honor. Shanks indeed is no Michael Lewis when it comes to writing talent. I'd love to read a well written book about scouting players, preferably one that ignored Moneyball and sabermetrics entirely instead of wasting time attacking a caricature of those.

Dollar Sign on the Muscle?

ah geez, the very next post.
   47. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 06:35 PM (#3768041)
Who is saying that baseball can be condensed to numerical terms that make it predictable?


according to these brilliant researchers, the writer of Moneyball, Bill James.
   48. PreservedFish Posted: March 10, 2011 at 06:44 PM (#3768050)
I'm curious whether or not the second part of the argument - "the Moneyball approach blocks out what is most compelling about the sport – its relentless capacity to surprise" - is just a nicely phrased version of "you're taking the fun out of it."
   49. Ron J Posted: March 10, 2011 at 07:22 PM (#3768082)
has he ever published his method of leading indicators to forecast whether a team would improve or decline from their prior-season record and by how much?


He's certainly published the 7 factors (initially 6 but added one more), but the relative weights of each factor, nope.

Team Age (Young teams tend to improve)
Change relative to previous year. (Teams that improve a lot in one year tend to regress and vice versa)
Record compared to their pythag (Teams that out-perform their pythag tend to regress)
Runs scored compared to runs created (Teams that score more runs than you'd expect given their counter stats tend to regress)
Record from August 1 (Teams that play much better late in the season are often casting off dross)
W/L record (good teams tend to decline, bad teams tend to improve)
Record of AAA team (the new factor)

All these year later and I still haven't gotten around to running my own study on these factors.
   50. alkeiper Posted: March 10, 2011 at 07:25 PM (#3768086)
#38, check out "Scorecasting." The authors determined that home field advantage in sports is almost entirely attributable to officiating.

http://www.amazon.com/Scorecasting-Hidden-Influences-Behind-Sports/dp/0307591794/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299781443&sr=8-1
   51. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 10, 2011 at 07:41 PM (#3768102)
He's certainly published the 7 factors (initially 6 but added one more), but the relative weights of each factor, nope.

Team Age (Young teams tend to improve)
Change relative to previous year. (Teams that improve a lot in one year tend to regress and vice versa)
Record compared to their pythag (Teams that out-perform their pythag tend to regress)
Runs scored compared to runs created (Teams that score more runs than you'd expect given their counter stats tend to regress)
Record from August 1 (Teams that play much better late in the season are often casting off dross)
W/L record (good teams tend to decline, bad teams tend to improve)
Record of AAA team (the new factor)

So, the A's will win 95 games. Why even play the season, let's skip straight to the playoffs!
   52. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: March 10, 2011 at 08:08 PM (#3768120)
Who is saying that baseball can be condensed to numerical terms that make it predictable?


Well, there are the people who publish predictions based on analysis of numbers. Like, the existence of ZIPS suggests that Dan Szymborski thinks that baseball is, to some degree, predictable, right?
   53. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 10, 2011 at 08:26 PM (#3768140)
Predictable? Yes. Predictable to 100% accuracy? No of course not. If they are arguing the first then they are just wrong, otherwise why would you ever sign a superstar if you believe you can't predict continued success? If it's the second, I thin Dan and anyone else would agree that projections are not certainties.
   54. asdf1234 Posted: March 10, 2011 at 08:38 PM (#3768154)
I look forward to the author's follow-up work in which he excoriates every other discipline that utilizes projection systems.

"Projections are not predictions" is the baseball version of "correlation does not imply causation."
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2011 at 08:58 PM (#3768172)
if there is nothing predictable in baseball, then shouldn't Albert Pujols have to compete every year for a job? I mean if you project him or any player into the starting lineup you are making predictions.
   56. BDC Posted: March 10, 2011 at 09:14 PM (#3768195)
I think we need a sabermetric Teach the Controversy T-shirt, only I'm not sure what the design should be. Maybe Jack Morris on a Hall of Fame plaque.
   57. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 10, 2011 at 09:38 PM (#3768214)
Love those T-shirts, Bob.
   58. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: March 10, 2011 at 09:49 PM (#3768225)
It has been a long time but this has always stuck in my head as a very good book though with a very sad ending.
Haven't read it (yet), but I liked the book he did with Steve Fireovid.

That finding from Scorecasting has attracted criticism. Haven't read it yet, am agnostic on the issue.

Shanks (Scouts Honor) doesn't impress me as a thinker.

As for this, who knows? The blurb at the top of the page is kind of stupid.
   59. tshipman Posted: March 10, 2011 at 09:53 PM (#3768236)
I think we need a sabermetric Teach the Controversy T-shirt, only I'm not sure what the design should be. Maybe Jack Morris on a Hall of Fame plaque.


Those T-shirts are done by a good friend of my girlfriend (his name is Jeremy)--so feel free to buy, as its a good cause.
   60. Don Malcolm Posted: March 10, 2011 at 09:57 PM (#3768240)
If one goes to TFA, there is a slight moderating sentence that suggests the book will not be quite so black-and-white as the ad copy would have one believe (after all, it's ad copy):

The authors acknowledge some merit to the Moneyball approach but, drawing on tales from baseball’s rich history, also identify major flaws.


The only way to find out, of course, is to RTFB.

We now return you to the regularly scheduled blood-letting...
   61. StHendu Posted: March 11, 2011 at 12:45 AM (#3768369)
Because of these nerds, I can't watch a baseball game without someone ruining it by counting runs.


"No fair! You changed the outcome by measuring it!" -Professor Farnsworth -
   62. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: March 11, 2011 at 03:00 AM (#3768427)
It has been a long time but this has always stuck in my head as a very good book though with a very sad ending.


It's interesting that the most popular book that "Customers Who Bought Prophet of the Sandlots: Journeys With A Major League Scout" also bought was "Moneyball".
   63. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 11, 2011 at 03:16 AM (#3768434)
It has been a long time but [Prophet of the Sandlots] has always stuck in my head as a very good book though with a very sad ending.

I'll second the recommendation; I really liked this one.
(I still try to get relatively-inexperienced ballplayers to throw off a wall - really is the best thing for Ye Olde Catch & Throw)
   64. spycake Posted: March 11, 2011 at 03:34 AM (#3768444)
why Billy Beane’s A’s have flopped and the Minnesota Twins soared


So, since the Twins only recent playoff series win was over the A's, and the A's likewise have only beaten the Twins, can we throw out the results when those two teams have played each other? They should both be considered winless in the playoffs until they beat someone else.

This could have also happened in the 2003 World Series, if the Cubs and Red Sox had both advanced.

And to a lesser extent, it did occur in the 1995 World Series, when the Braves beat the Indians.

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