I’m sure some of those who are familiar with me, what I do and how strongly I feel about the farcical nature of Moneyball the book and how much worse Moneyball the movie was in terms of factual inaccuracy are expecting me to go into a rant about Billy Beane. Again.
But I’m not.
I’m saving that.
This is straight recapping and assessment.
The A’s began another rebuild phase under Beane as he allowed Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui and David DeJesus to leave as free agents and traded Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey for packages of youngsters. He was intent—so he implied—on waiting out the resolution of the possible new ballpark in San Jose.
But then he did something strange.
He started making maneuvers that were diametrically opposed to a full-scale rebuild. He re-signed Coco Crisp; he signed veterans Bartolo Colon and Jonny Gomes; and then committed the cardinal sin in the context of verifiable stats and knowing what one is purchasing by investing heavily ($36 million over 4-years) in a Cuban defector, Yoenis Cespedes.
Beane says and does whatever he wants.
There’s always an excuse.
The media was focusing on the job status of Bob Geren (Beane’s “best friend”) so he replaced him not because of Geren doing a bad job, but because of media scrutiny being a distraction.
They don’t have any money, so they clear out the house of any and all veterans.
The ballpark is terrible, has no luxury boxes and the fans don’t come so he has to wait and hope the San Jose deal comes through.
No one wants to play in Oakland, so they have to take chances on the likes of Cespedes.
The Angels and Rangers are powerhouses, so why should the A’s bother to try and compete?
If it’s not one thing it’s another.
It’s not hard to be considered a genius when nothing is ever you’re fault; when the sycophants will find an excuse regardless of what you do and whether or not it makes sense.
No one blames him for anything because they’re either invested in Moneyball, don’t know enough to realize that Beane isn’t a genius whose every decision turns to gold or are afraid to protest for fear of being shouted down and ostracized.
He’s flinging things at the wall and hoping they work. That’s not analytical; it’s not based on numbers. It’s pure desperation on the part of the supposed “genius” and willfully blind silence on the part of those who know what he’s doing and refuse to protest are even more guilty.
His team is still terrible and the new template is 2015.
By then they’ll be good and hopefully have a new ballpark.
People in the media and starstruck fans might not want to admit the truth, but people inside baseball are aware. Beane let it be known through intermediaries leaking it to the media that he was willing to listen if the Cubs came calling to run their club.
He wanted the job.
But the Cubs didn’t want him. They wanted Theo Epstein.
People in baseball know he’s a fraud. And he’s trapped in Oakland.
Beane signed a contract extension to keep him with the Athletics through 2019.
That’s where he is and that’s where he’ll stay.
The above is a snippet from my book, Paul Lebowitz’s 2012 Baseball Guide.