Commentary On Moneyball: The Art Of Winning An Unfair Game By Michael Lewis

1409 words - 6 pages


What Michael describes in his new book is very sensational. Michael handles a topic which in the reality would be interesting only to sport s fans and makes it fit into the field of economics. Michael outlines the way Oakland Athletics’ general manager, Billy Bean, who is described as very charismatic, used all means including statistics to transform his team. Apart from bringing out this exceptional move by Billy Bean, the author goes further to discuss an inspirational story regarding superior database management. This means that Lewis’s book is packed with a lot of items which makes it not only a reserve for those who can differentiate between a ...view middle of the document...

After outlining this amazing relationship between payroll ranking and performance ranking, Lewis leaves the reader with a lot of unanswered questions. The biggest question is, what strategy did Beane use to pull this off? According to Beane, this achievement was possible because Beane ignored or defied the conventional wisdom of baseball. This kind of wisdom is called The Book in baseball lingo. According to the Book, one should bunt in this situation. It appears that most of the chapters contained in the Book are not true. This is because sacrifice bunts are hardly a smart strategy. At the same time, steals are widely overrated. This is because if a base stealer does not succeed in at least ¾ of the time of play, his efforts cuts down runs scored instead of increasing them. Another portion of this particular Book also needed revision. The portion of The Book that was most in need of revision, and the most important edge exploited by Beane was the part of player evaluation. The strategy that Beane employed in this case was that of figuring out, using scientific methods, and the much a player was likely to add to the chances of his team. In this case, Beane depended entirely on objective evidence. He dismissed anything that could appear subjective (Lewis, 2003).
Beane’s findings were that from his statistical analysis, players picked from high school were in poor capacity to succeed as compared with players picked out of college. In this case, Beane did not recruit high school players no mother how highly touted they may have been. Beane also employed Paul DePodesta, a young assistant, who was a Harvard economics graduate to use his computer in projecting performances of players. This assistant did not have to be always in the pitch to see a player swinging a bat. It is here that a lot of comedy and tension of Lewis’s book arises. DePodestra and Bean are on one side while the experts who have played, scouted, and for decades, breathed baseball. The experts rally against statistical methods. However, it comes out clearly later that statistical methods carry the day (Thaler & Sunstein, 2003).
The sabermetric-based evaluation of a player is a big shock to many. This is because it compares the old baseball wisdom with statistical knowledge and comes up with unexpected findings. While the old scout is claiming that the player is an athlete, Beane believes that there is a lot of worries and upside in that. While the old scout is claiming that the player is not badly off in hitting, Beane is saying that the player cannot hit. When the batting statistics of the college player, it was found that he conspicuously lacked extra base walks and hits. This revelation shocks many. It favors Beane’s arguments. Therefore, statistical knowledge prevails over the old baseball wisdom (Thaler & Sunstein, 2003).
Lewis goes ahead and responds to what make professional baseball executives, who are so old and experienced in the field, make a lot of colossal mistakes....

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