Viewer Mail 3.10.2011

Books, Management, Media, Players, Spring Training

Mike Fierman writes RE Moneyball, Billy Beane and me:

May I say that you seem obsessed with Beane. he’s just not worth the amount of time you spend railing against him and a book he didn’t shape, edit or write. My advice would be to move on…

He didn’t shape, edit or write it—that’s true; but he’s an accessory after-the-fact to its continued prominence and the myth that it was a realistic story.

I’m not obsessed in any way; I’m trying to shatter the belief system that those who have a knowledge of formulas and numbers can storm into any front office and run a big league club with no qualms nor the proper etiquette required to deal with those who’ve been in the game as a career and have contributions to give.

Beane took part in the book and if he’s the genius he’s supposed to be, he had to sense where Michael Lewis was going with it. If he didn’t, he’s not only not a genius, then he’s a fool as well.

The Other Mike in The Bleacher Seats writes RE Moneyball:

I wonder how much you could accomplish in your life if Billy Beane weren’t acting as your white whale, tormenting and obsessing you to no end.

When it comes to you vs. Beane, I have to ask, how many movies have they made about Paul Lebowitz that starred Brad Pitt as the main character?

Clearly you must be jealous. Or something.

You’ve figured it out, Mike.

I’m jealous.

I want to be a demagogue; I want to be reviled in the industry; I want a large percentage of baseball people/media/fans to be waiting for me to fail; and I want to have a hunky actor bedding down unsuspecting, hopefully disease resistant waitresses in a nonsensical script adapted from a ridiculous book.

The amount of time you and Mike have spent reading me, you know by now that I have no agenda apart from the truth as I see it; Moneyball offended me in a myriad of ways not only because of the way quality baseball people were ridiculed, but because of the pompous presentation and biblical, condescending tone it set as if to say, “HALT INFIDEL!!” and implied you’d go to baseball-related hell if you didn’t adhere to the commandments of Beane in tales regaled by the self-proclaimed conduit to the masses, Lewis.

As for who’d play me in a movie, I dunno who could do it. It’s like the line attributed to Don King years ago: “If Don King didn’t exist, you’d hafta invent him!!”

Same goes for me.

Ed Avery at the Ed Avery Report writes RE Jason Heyward:

It’s been a real pleaser to watch Heyward here in Atlanta, this kid is the real deal, and not just on the field, the kid is a star.

The most impressive thing about Heyward wasn’t his performance in and of itself, but that at age 20 and with that hype surrounding him, he withstood the expectations.

And I mean “withstood”; not “met”.

I’d never, ever put the kind of pressure on a young player as Bobby Cox did last spring comparing him to Willie Mays. Even if it’s accurate, it’s not fair; it puts a player in an awful position because the media, such as it is, will run off with that statement and either question the player’s talent if he doesn’t produce immediately or hold it over his head with comparisons that few, if any, could meet.

I’d be vigilant about his injuries and the sophomore slump (yes, it exists), but he’s going to be a fine player for a long time.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE my book:



Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe and on Amazon.


2 thoughts on “Viewer Mail 3.10.2011

  1. To Mike and Other Mike:
    I have to support Paul here. The reason Billy Beane is his white whale or even bete noire is simple: the Moneyball sabermetric fans are taking over the sports business.
    Look at Deadspin’s article today on the MIT Sports Analytic Conference. The dorks are ascendant. While I (and I am sure Paul) have no problem with dorks per se, what does irk me/us is two things:
    1) the attitude of said dorks—a large percentage of them reflexively disparage the ‘traditional’ non-dork types; and
    2) the intelligence of the dorks—just because you cannot play the game and because you know how to do long division does not mean you are intelligent enough to analyze a sport properly.
    The main problem lies in the dorks usage of faulty statistics. Don’t tell me a walk is good as a hit. It isn’t. Don’t tell me a bunt or a steal is useless or counter-productive. They are not (sometimes). Don’t tell me errors are not a good stat to use to determine fielding prowess. It is. Don’t tell me Shane Battier is a superstar. He is not.
    While I realize the dorks admit their stats are imperfect and are contantly trying to revise them, until they do develop the perfect stats, they should advance their cause with some humility. They should stop with the Joe Posnanski/Bill James shtick of ‘you thought the answer was A. Actually, the answer is B! Haha, you cretin!”
    What it comes down to is this: if you were a team owner, would you trust a good squad of scouts to blanket a league and rate players, or would you save the money on scouts and just use ‘advanced analytics’ as they are currently presented?
    And would you give Billy Beane any deference? In a post steroid world, where he cannot field an offence of slow white guys taking walks in front of juicehead sluggers?

  2. I hope you know that nothing about my comment was meant to be taken seriously. Except for the bit about the white whale.

    In what way hasn’t Billy Beane already failed? He’s still a GM, sure, but he’s never fielded a WS team and most of his time in office has been dominated by the Angels.

    If I’m waiting for Beane to fail, I’ve been waiting too long.

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