It is 2012. There are flying cars now. I haven't been outside since April, but I'm pretty sure that's true. We're in the future. But we're still complaining about something so predictable, so worn, so obvious. Here's the template:
1. Baseball writer writes something about how Moneyball is dead because of [x].
2. Baseball nerds and aficionados rail against the article on Twitter and other corners of the Internet.
Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat. The book is almost ten years old. When it was written, the Phillies were just ahead of the Royals in payroll, and the Diamondbacks had the fourth-biggest payroll in the league. The Internet was filled with 56k modems, and you used the phone in your pants to call people, instead of sharing pictures of your cat. I'm not sure why organizational philosophies from 2002 are supposed to be the same if the world is different.
Danny Knobler didn't start the fire. But when we are gone, it will still burn on and on and on and on:
Two games in, we don't yet have a winner of this World Series, but we already have a loser.
It's not the Tigers (not yet, anyway).
You know what's less hip than Moneyball references? Billy Joel references. So we're even. But Knobler's thesis is that the Tigers and Giants are old school. It's not an inflammatory premise, really, so I'm not sure why there's so much sturm und drang about it. If there's a spectrum of scouting and statistics, the Giants and Tigers are probably farther away from the statistics side.
But the spectrum isn't teams firing their scouts on one side, with the other side comprised of teams running interoffice memos on a ditto machine because they don't have computers. Back in 2002? I don't know, maybe the stereotype had a little truth to it. There might have been general managers who still looked at a player's batting average and thought, "Now there's a hitter."
Those teams are gone. Statistics are considered by every front office now. Condolences, Lebowski. It's been that way since Henry Chadwick invented the RBI, really, but the stats have changed. The modus operandi -- gather as much relevant information as possible to improve player evaluation -- has not.
Say, how aghast are the Giants at these newfangled statistics? Let's hear from the team president:
"(Yeshayah Goldfarb) is one of our ‘Moneyball’ guys, if you will," Giants president Larry Baer said last week, alluding to the process of finding valuable players that other teams might overlook. "He does a lot of our really important analysis on player acquisitions."
So let's all agree on something, and let's remember it the next time we want to write or respond to something related to Moneyball being dead or alive.
This is not the spectrum:
This is my educated guess at the spectrum:
And this is the last time we'll talk about Moneyball being dead or alive until the next time. Thanks for listening.