Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book #35 – MoneyBall

I had wanted to read Moneyball for years, having heard it talked about on the radio and Michael Lewis interviewed a few times. So when I had some money, and was searching for something non-fiction to read, I grabbed it.

It’s great. Lewis does a fantastic job of mixing in stories with facts, and walking you through some personalities of the game of baseball. It’s almost as much a book on cultural stereotypes and the lack of desire to change as it is on baseball.

Lewis looks at the success of the Oakland As, a small market team whose payroll is a fraction of larger teams, like the Yankees, who they compete with. The GM of the As, Billy Beane, was a talented player, arguably the most talented player in his draft (that included Daryl Strawberry and Len Dykstra), but never made a success. He was scouted and talked about, but mentally didn’t succeed. So when he becomes a GM, he looks to do things differently.

And he uses math, or statistics rather, to analyze players. He hires people outside of baseball (non-players), that love the game, and revamps the way Oakland signs and drafts players. With quite a bit of success. Despite the success Oakland has had consistently in the regular season, it still appears that many teams haven’t caught on.

It’s a fun read, and you find yourself drawn into reading about the players that other teams pass on. We jump in and out of the 2003 draft as the As pick players that other teams aren’t looking at. We see the GM that won’t watch games, and is larger and stronger than many of his players.
It’s a fun read, one that I’d recommend as a read to anyone.

No comments: