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Billy Beane Visits Athletics Nation

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I found this to be an excellent read and thought a few of you would enjoy as well.

Beane: When was Moneyball published? What 2002, so that’s six years ago now and we’re still talking about it? I usually let Michael and others define what they thought what the book was about. The bottom line is that I don’t think there was anywhere in the book where we sat down and gave a manifesto on how to do things so I think that’s the most misinterpreted thing. But as far as how we do business in the draft, the more you do this job, and this can apply to almost any business job, the more you realize you don’t know. The idea that you are going to create a template that is going to work forever in a very competitive business just doesn’t happen. Are there some things we still believe in? Absolutely. There are also some things where we say, “Maybe we need to take a look at this.” But that’s the evolution of any business if you’re going to stay on top and try and be successful. I’m glad we’re like that. Maybe seven, eight, nine years ago I wouldn’t have been so much like that. Successes and failures are things you can learn from. For us, we’re constantly trying to evolve. Just because we do something different that we didn’t necessarily do a previous year doesn’t mean it’s something we don’t believe in. Someone will inevitably say that’s blasphemy compared to how we used to do business. We’re constantly checking ourselves. And the business is changing. The people running teams now, in my opinion, are as good as they ever have been. There are some really smart guys running businesses. It’s incredibly competitive and the idea that you’re going to have an “intellectual edge” anymore is, and I not sure that there ever was, but I’m not sure it exists any more. I can tell you the guys running teams now have some really, really smart guys working for them. You’re not going to outsmart too many people. We all have the same information available to us.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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The goal was to restock the farm system and the second part, we didn’t really know. I wasn’t convinced that we were going to be a terrible team, which is what some people thought. I wasn’t also ready to run up a hill and say we were going to be the best team in the league either. We weren’t really sure. There were a lot of what ifs there that didn’t really allow us to get a gauge on where we were. I was looking forward to rebuilding this thing and making it really good for a long time, but it makes it a lot more pleasurable when you’re winning at the major league level. So you find yourself getting used to winning after a while and then when you lose a few games in a row, you have to remind yourself that you have a young team. Then you have to stop and appreciate where you’re at and what you’ve accomplished and be pretty happy.

Tell me that doesn't sound like something Andy MacPhail would say right now if he was asked the same question :P

Really good stuff. I think this answer is very true.

Number twos do everything the number one does, but the number one is the guy. It’s like when Stew (Dave Stewart) was here. We had Mike Moore and Dave Stewart and when you look at them it was hard to say who was actually better on the mound but Stew was number one and Mike was number two because of the presence factor and the cache. The number one label is based on presence. I’ll say this, there are a lot of guys down there who have the ability to be good number twos and threes. But we’ll just see if they have the cult of personality there after a couple of years.

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The goal was to restock the farm system and the second part, we didn’t really know. I wasn’t convinced that we were going to be a terrible team, which is what some people thought. I wasn’t also ready to run up a hill and say we were going to be the best team in the league either. We weren’t really sure. There were a lot of what ifs there that didn’t really allow us to get a gauge on where we were. I was looking forward to rebuilding this thing and making it really good for a long time, but it makes it a lot more pleasurable when you’re winning at the major league level. So you find yourself getting used to winning after a while and then when you lose a few games in a row, you have to remind yourself that you have a young team. Then you have to stop and appreciate where you’re at and what you’ve accomplished and be pretty happy.

I certainly understand Beane's point here, yet on a certain level it seems somewhat disconcerting to hear the guy in charge of assembling the team admitting that he really didn't have much of an idea about how good said team was going to be. :eek:

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[rant]So does every professional and collegiate team officially have its own "Nation" these days? GRRRRR[/rant]

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I certainly understand Beane's point here, yet on a certain level it seems somewhat disconcerting to hear the guy in charge of assembling the team admitting that he really didn't have much of an idea about how good said team was going to be. :eek:

Why?

You think if you put Andy McPhail on sodium pentathol he wouldn't say the same thing?

Probably the guy who runs the Rays, too (blanking on his name).

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[rant]So does every professional and collegiate team officially have its own "Nation" these days? GRRRRR[/rant]

Seriously. That drives me nuts.

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Why?

You think if you put Andy McPhail on sodium pentathol he wouldn't say the same thing?

Probably the guy who runs the Rays, too (blanking on his name).

Just seems to me that the guy in charge ought to have a better grasp of the state of the club, and its competitive position.

By the same token I'd feel pretty uneasy if my VP of Sales could only shrug his shoulders if I asked him about the company's outlook for the next quarter.

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I certainly understand Beane's point here, yet on a certain level it seems somewhat disconcerting to hear the guy in charge of assembling the team admitting that he really didn't have much of an idea about how good said team was going to be. :eek:

I don't know why it's disconcerting for a GM to admit, basically, that he didn't really have a firm grasp on whether this team he'd just blown up and restocked was a 70-win team or an 85-win team. He'd probably still admit he's not quite sure where they'll finish.

Prediction in baseball is a fuzzy thing. I'm only half kidding every March or April when I say I'm confident the O's will finish with between 65 and 90 wins.

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I don't know why it's disconcerting for a GM to admit, basically, that he didn't really have a firm grasp on whether this team he'd just blown up and restocked was a 70-win team or an 85-win team. He'd probably still admit he's not quite sure where they'll finish.

Prediction in baseball is a fuzzy thing. I'm only half kidding every March or April when I say I'm confident the O's will finish with between 65 and 90 wins.

JMHO, but if Beane was being completely honest, instead of saying "we didn't know," he'd be saying "we didn't expect this."

I totally understand why that's not what he's saying, though.

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