01 May 2008

moneyball: it's good for you

Jon Heyman writes a baseball column every day for si.com. Some days it's okay. Some days, enh, it's the soft-toss bullshit. Today is the latter type.

He spends most of his column inches fellating Mike Sciosia, which is more or less fine, as far it goes. Sciosia wins, he's in a big market, he has a lot of money to spend, and I guess he gets the most out of his players. I don't much care. His owner lowered the price of beer at the ballpark, and that meant I didn't have to shotgun so many bud lights in the parking lot before the game (see photo).

Heyman trots out the usual cliches ("41 year jinx" and "turn the page"), but what really grates is he says that Sciosia "may be" baseball's best manager in part because "he is no Moneyball player, and scouts applaud that the Angels championship was won on speed and strategy, not waiting for the walk."

There's a lot wrong with this assertion.
A. Scouts don't play games, so it doesn't matter if they sit on their hands, applaud, or go fuck a duck.

B. "Moneyball" is a strategy based on exploiting market inefficiencies, identifying players that are over- and undervalued, and using that information to your advantage. It is not necessarily about "waiting for the walk". That is a generalization made by the ignorant, and there's no excuse for someone who covers baseball for a living to write something so dumb.

C. I don't see how "waiting for the walk" is a bad thing if the alternative is "making an out". Because the important thing to do in baseball is to win, and to win you must score runs, and to score runs you must not make outs. (btw: I love to 'make out', but not while watching baseball. honk!)

D. "Waiting for the walk", as you so ineloquently put it, is in itself a strategy. I'm sure there are some 'scouts' that applaud this strategy. Some of them work for the Red Sox. How'd they do last year?

E. It does not matter how fast you are if the ball gets to first base before you do. Ask Billy Beane if you don't believe me.


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