Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Slate: Michael Lewis and Billy Beane talk Moneyball

Don’t have time to thumb through all of it (flood of Waylon Thornton and the Heavy Hands EP’s take precedent!), but this…

However, the people who make this objection don’t seem to grasp the basic principles of imitation and catch-up. Once all teams are playing Moneyball, then playing Moneyball no longer gives you an edge. Indeed, the richer clubs have the means to play it smarter. The New York Yankees recently hired 21 statisticians, Beane marvels.

...Lewis breaks in: “To be totally fair to Billy, he likes attention less than anybody who’s got as much attention as he has. You’re shy, that’s what it is! You just hide it well.”

Actually, admits Beane, the film did give him one good celebrity moment. Unusually for anyone in professional sport, Beane counts among his many obsessions punk and indie music. (The Clash poster on Pitt’s office wall in the movie is strictly accurate.) When the film came out in north America, Beane found himself at a table at the Toronto film festival organised by Moneyball’s producer, Sony Pictures. He says, “I was sitting next to the Sonys. Brad and Angelina Jolie were over there. And right there was this guy, and the whole night I kept thinking, ‘Man, that guy looks just like Chris Cornell from Soundgarden.’ So the guy gets up to leave and I turn round and say, ‘That guy’s trying too hard because he’s trying to look just like Chris Cornell.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, that is Chris Cornell from Soundgarden.’ I went, ‘What? I’ve been asking him to pass the scallops all night!’ And off I go and introduce myself to him. That was my closest lookie-me moment.”

Repoz Posted: November 13, 2011 at 02:34 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, books, business, history, media, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. The_Ex Posted: November 13, 2011 at 06:29 PM (#3992564)
From TFA, something I did not know:

However, the people who make this objection don’t seem to grasp the basic principles of imitation and catch-up. Once all teams are playing Moneyball, then playing Moneyball no longer gives you an edge. Indeed, the richer clubs have the means to play it smarter. The New York Yankees recently hired 21 statisticians, Beane marvels.


If the Yankees recently hired 21 stats guys what are they going from and to. Is it from 3 to 24, indicating a big push in that area. Or is it from 21 to 42?

Who leads the Yankees stats efforts anyway?
   2. BobT Posted: November 13, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3992590)
It's like Charles Foster Kane hiring all the reporters from the Chronicle to work for his Inquirer. I soon expect a big party with people singing songs "His name is Cashman. Brian Cashman...."
   3. Zach Posted: November 13, 2011 at 09:46 PM (#3992624)
Are the Yankees aware of this new invention called the electronic computer? It lets you use less than one stastistician per player.
   4. Tripon Posted: November 13, 2011 at 10:07 PM (#3992632)
Maybe the Yankees should invest on an Ipad.
   5. Repoz Posted: November 13, 2011 at 10:40 PM (#3992642)
The New York Yankees recently hired 21 statisticians

So that's where the all those Bleacher Report writers went after King kanned them!
   6. Tripon Posted: November 13, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#3992646)
What, will Bleacher Report not do a story on the 20 best boobs in Sports now?
   7. Bob Evans Posted: November 14, 2011 at 02:05 AM (#3992781)
What, will Bleacher Report not do a story on the 20 best boobs in Sports now?

Yes, but to economize, they will feature the boobs from 10 women.
   8. Cooper Nielson Posted: November 14, 2011 at 02:35 AM (#3992791)
But the former ballplayers who then ran baseball were even more aghast. The notion that numbers could trump gut outraged them. ... Other teams began hiring Epsteins and Beanes rather than clubbable ex-players. Last season only three of 30 GMs in the major leagues had played professional baseball, none of them very successfully. Beane has ended up restricting job opportunities in baseball for people from backgrounds like Beane’s.

I'm pretty sure the author meant major-league baseball (several GMs played in the minors), but I thought this was an interesting fact. It really has been a "revenge of the nerds," in a manner of speaking, especially when you consider that two of those three GMs who did play in the majors -- Ruben Amaro Jr. and Kenny Williams -- also went to Stanford, and the third is Billy Beane himself.
   9. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 14, 2011 at 03:03 AM (#3992810)
How much would it cost you to hire 21 statisticians? According to the BLS, the median statistician earned $72,610 in wages in 2008. Figure $85-90 including benefits. So you can hire 21 statisticians for $1.7-$1.8 million.

That's not exactly chump change, but it's less than half of what the A's paid Hideki Matsui for replacement level performance in 2011. I'm also skeptical that any team needs that many statisticians. I think the key is having a few innovative people who understand both the numbers and the game of baseball overseeing the operation--people who have interesting ideas to study and who also know the game well enough to understand the limitations of the available data and other issues along those lines. Those guys might be expensive, but not compared to even mediocre MLB players.
   10. Darren Posted: November 14, 2011 at 05:03 AM (#3992837)
Yes, it seems like with that many guys, you're likely to buried under stacks of reports on how drinking orange juice correlates with good chatter.
   11. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 14, 2011 at 05:31 AM (#3992845)
But the former ballplayers who then ran baseball were even more aghast. The notion that numbers could trump gut outraged them. ... Other teams began hiring Epsteins and Beanes rather than clubbable ex-players. Last season only three of 30 GMs in the major leagues had played professional baseball, none of them very successfully. Beane has ended up restricting job opportunities in baseball for people from backgrounds like Beane’s.


In 2000, three years before Moneyball's publication, the number of former major leaguers occupying the big chair in major league front offices was a whopping four - Beane, Bill Stoneman, Ron Schueler and Jim Beattie. The movement away from former ballplayers as GMs predated Moneyball, Theoball and the like.
   12. Swedish Chef Posted: November 14, 2011 at 07:40 AM (#3992868)
How much would it cost you to hire 21 statisticians? According to the BLS, the median statistician earned $72,610 in wages in 2008. Figure $85-90 including benefits. So you can hire 21 statisticians for $1.7-$1.8 million.

I figure a baseball team can and do hire the bulk of them very cheaply, because everybody wants to get a foot in in baseball, I'd say 40K a piece.

I'm also skeptical that any team needs that many statisticians. I think the key is having a few innovative people who understand both the numbers and the game of baseball overseeing the operation--people who have interesting ideas to study and who also know the game well enough to understand the limitations of the available data and other issues along those lines.

There are grunt work to do, if you are set on creating a proprietary system for this or that, the programming will consume headcount. Or maybe they are taking very raw data and trying to make something of it.
   13. Cooper Nielson Posted: November 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM (#3992876)
Good point, SoSH.
   14. Styles P. Deadball Posted: November 14, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3993134)
how drinking orange juice correlates with good chatter.


Heyyyyyyy Batta-Batta-Batta

GULP

Suhhhh-WING!

I'd like to see if that s#*t works in the playoffs.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Andere Richtingen
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP - 2016 February 8: There’s baseball, politics … and real problems
(1808 - 5:11am, Feb 13)
Last: Gonfalon Bubble

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread - February 2016
(159 - 3:07am, Feb 13)
Last: AuntBea

NewsblogJennry Mejia permanently banned by MLB for third PED test
(11 - 2:31am, Feb 13)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogAthletics acquire Khris Davis from Brewers | MLB.com
(11 - 2:08am, Feb 13)
Last: The Spirit of Salvador Perez

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - February 2016
(753 - 1:46am, Feb 13)
Last: aberg

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-12-2016
(15 - 1:29am, Feb 13)
Last: vortex of dissipation

NewsblogTop 100 Prospects - BaseballAmerica.com
(2 - 1:11am, Feb 13)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogJacob deGrom to Mets: ‘Willing’ to do long-term deal now
(15 - 11:19pm, Feb 12)
Last: Adam Starblind

NewsblogWrigleyville - What a Slutter Does, Has Done, and Might Do for Jake Arrieta
(9 - 10:28pm, Feb 12)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogBrian Kenny: HALL OF FAME'S ANTI-RECENCY BIAS
(75 - 10:20pm, Feb 12)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogMLB, players' association work together to develop more protective pitching hat
(4 - 5:53pm, Feb 12)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogMLB New data results show high school baseball similar to MLB
(2 - 4:42pm, Feb 12)
Last: Leroy Kincaid

NewsblogKeith Law: 2016 ranking of all 30 farm systems (INSIDER)
(55 - 4:07pm, Feb 12)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogThe Uncertain Timetable for Cord-Cutting in Baseball's Future
(75 - 3:56pm, Feb 12)
Last: Greg K

NewsblogThe BtBS guide to analytics tools and resources - Beyond the Box Score
(4 - 3:18pm, Feb 12)
Last: KJOK

Page rendered in 0.1737 seconds
47 querie(s) executed