Book Club: "Moneyball" by Billy Beane

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Hey fans, Joe Morgan here. When I found out that my colleagues over at the Baseball Tonight mothership had started their own blog, I immediately recognized an opportunity to kick off some serious discussion about my favorite book and yours, "Moneyball," by Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane.

By now many of you "Moneyball" followers are no doubt aware that your patron saint, the lonely night watchman Bill James, has officially jumped ship, switched camps, named names and turned out the lights on this whole sorry notion that stats can mean anything other than what we baseball men say they mean. That's right, folks, I get the New York Times in Cincinnati. It seems that Mr. James regrets characterizing clutch hitting as a myth, and wishes to atone for his sins. Well, it's about time, Mr. James. Leave those sample sizes where they belong -- at the Filene's Basement sale with my wife.

Now, as for Mr. Beane: Any fan looking at the numbers can see that the A's have stolen only two bases this season, whereas their opponents have swiped 23 bags. Furthermore, Oakland is second in their division to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who have stolen 24 bases so far this year and appear as though they are ready to steal a lot more. Why? Because they are a team that knows how to win. What has Billy Beane ever won except maybe some book award that nobody cares about anyway? Anyhow, I hope all you stat geeks can now see how this works. You'd think a bunch of business-school rejects would know that the only way to get ahead is to steal.

Alright, I'm signing off for now, fans. Please be sure to send along your thoughts about "Moneyball," and to share them with the rest of the guys as well!


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