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Oct 12 2012

What exactly is moneyball?

by at 6:10 pm


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Now since the novel by Michael Lewis has been published and the movie starring A-list actors was a hit, this word “moneyball” has become prevalent in mainstream society but the question is, do most people know what this really is? Of course, avid baseball fans are well aware of this phenomenon innovated by Billy Beane, who was the general manager of the Oakland Athletics in 1997. In my Sports Leadership & Management curriculum, I recently was reading about how the concept of moneyball was born due to MLB franchise values and the disparity between large market and small market teams. Due to the fact that the MLB doesn’t share local TV revenue (meaning that they don’t make money off of how many viewers tune into ballgames), it causes large “media market teams” such as the New York Yankees to earn more revenue compared to the Colorado Rockies. This causes a disadvantage and a potential monopoly among major league teams and the possibility of losing top notch players because salary requirements can’t be met. During the 1990’s when Billy Beane was a professional scout, he realized this discrepancy and developed a concept of building a team on a low budget while using sabermetrics, a concept of analyzing baseball through objective evidence and then it evolved into the word “moneyball”.  The whole idea of moneyball is to have a winning team without having to recruit high profile players with high salary demands. This idea that Beane invented and enacted as a GM after the 1997 season with the A’s was to focus primarily on the statistics of players and to use quantitative analysis of baseball, rather than just recruiting talented baseball players who had a high batting average or a low ERA. Beane wanted to draft intelligently and hired statistician Bill James to analyze mathematical theories to put together a team that would consistently win. Now, teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox have utilized “moneyball”. To sum it up, a professional baseball franchise doesn’t need to have a large amount of revenue to recruit skilled baseball players but rather have the capability to analyze statistics, probability, and to draft players who are worth it.

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