I’ve made it clear over the years what a joke I think Moneyball is, both the book and the philosophy.
The book, because it pretends like the Oakland A’s have come up with something unique and brilliant, when in fact a lot of what they do is also done by other organizations. Some parts of the book have proven to be fictional, confirmed by A’s GM Billy Beane himself. And the more extreme among the stathead movement have deified Beane as some sort of baseball god, with Moneyball the bible of their religion.
The philosophy, because it doesn’t work.
The latest example of that is in a column by Long Beach Press-Telegram columnist Doug Krikorian. He quotes at length former major leaguer Ed Crosby, the father of A’s shortstop Bobby Crosby.
You can click on the above link and read the article yourself. This part I found particularly noteworthy:
“The A’s take the bats out of their players’ hands from the time they’re in the minor leagues,” he says. “Bobby was taught always to take the first pitch. They take all the aggressiveness out of their players. Look how much better guys like Eric Burns and Nick Swisher and Marco Scutaro have become once they got out of Oakland. …
“I love the way Mike Scioscia has the Angels playing. They’re so aggressive both with their bats and with their baserunning. They’re always attacking. That’s not the case with the A’s.” …
It reminded me of a rookie Arizona League game I saw a few years ago between the Angels and A’s. It was clear that no A’s batter would be allowed to swing at the first pitch, so the Angels’ starter that day simply threw Strike One after Strike One after Strike One. The A’s were shut out that day.
Rookie games against A’s teams have seemed different in the last couple years. I’ve noticed they seem more aggressive than they used to be. They’re bunting, they’re stealing bases, they’re even swinging at the first pitch.
So maybe Moneyball has been tossed into some green-and-gold trash can in the Oakland front office.
And as of this writing, the Angels are 19½ games ahead of the A’s in the standings.
Which is the only stat that matters.