Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I enjoy the World Baseball Classic. It's real baseball in early March and I don't care who wins.

I bought and will finally read MONEYBALL after years of recommendations from Dude and others.

Here's a sneak peak of what Pirates fans have to look forward to this year. This photo is priceless. (The ball fell for a double yesterday.) The Bucs begin their 17th consecutive losing season in about a month. They are tearing up the Grapefruit League though. I have tentative plans to see FLA @ PIT on April 22.


Tom said...

I've been reading the LONG SEASON by Jim Brosnan on and off between the Amity Shales book. Brosnan wrote his book about the 1959 season and anticipates Bouton while still being family friendly. He's a marginal pitcher for the Cardinals who wrote diary as the season wore on.

Dude said...

This picture is great! I love how the one guy has a pained expression while the other guy is facing the wrong way as the ball is equidistant from both and heading towards neither glove. It sums up the Bucs perfectly.

Here's my Amazon review of MONEYBALL:

This is one of the most entertaining books I have read on any subject. I love baseball, so I may have enjoyed it more than most, but I do not believe a love for the game is necessary to appreciate MONEYBALL. My wife will judge a book's merits by opening it up and reading a random paragraph to see if it piques her interest. She declared this book a winner after reading about gaudy save totals and inefficiencies in the market for closers. Even someone who has only a cursory knowledge of the game can understand that concept.

Lewis gives a good overview of the history of Sabermetrics and all the characters who helped derive the new formulas for evaluating performance. He also invokes Jim Bouton's BALL FOUR by introducing us to some of the characters in the game. Scott Hatteberg comes out smelling like roses, and will be remembered long after his undistinguished playing career has ended.

Billy Beane is the main character in the book, and he is represented as a tortured revolutionary. The point is well drawn that as a general manager, Beane is consumed by the task of discovering his own antithesis, since Beane himself was a failed prospect of the antiquated methods of player evaluation.

MONEYBALL is a crash course in modern baseball and how the management of the game is changing during the present era. Scouts are being replaced by statisticians; field managers are sent to the top dugout step to appear commanding while awaiting orders from the general manager and his consortium of number crunchers. There is also a great analogy of the changing game of baseball in the '90's with the changes that Wall Street went through a decade prior, as the inefficiencies in the market were discovered and exploited.

There were several instances in reading this book that I was moved to laughter. Lewis has such a great command of his straightforward business style, that it comes as a surprise when he decides to point out an absurdity lurking just below the surface. This is a book for the shelf, to be enjoyed more than once. It will prove an enduring touchstone for future baseball executives, players, and fans, and possibly even stock brokers.

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