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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Full o' Beanes, or Snake-oil?

Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, is no stranger to lionization or to demonization. Even before the publication of Michael Lewis' book Moneyball, about Beane and the 2002 Athletics team, many followers of the game of baseball held strong opinions about Beane's way of running a ball club. And since Moneyball, almost every transaction his team makes is variously 1. scrutinized 2. analysed 3. criticized and 4. praised by members of both the mainstream sports media and of the ever-expanding baseball blogosphere, as well as by committed (maybe I do mean certifiable, so what?) baseball fans.

That's a lot of attention focused on a small market club that was rumoured to be under consideration for contraction in one of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's more controversial (read idiotic) attempts to shoot in the foot the game which he professes to love.

So what about Beane? Is he a genius, an evil genius, one lucky s.o.b., a consummate salesman (and more subtle showman than Bill Veeck), or a pragmatist determined to have his team succeed consistently and finding a way to make it happen by mining veins other teams have ignored or under-exploited?

Decide for yourself after reading these transcripts of an interview (Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.) with Beane, who recently sat down for a long chat with the Athletics Nation blog's
Tyler Bleszinski.


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4 comments:

Gazetteer said...

Thanks MJ for the tip.

Spent half the 90's in EastBay, saw many games from right field bleachers in now no longer Oakland Alameda County Coliseum before Al Davis destroyed them.....this was a great read.

MackJohnny said...

You're welcome, RK. I particularly liked the bit about the Yankees freespending ways providing opportunities for Oakland.

eteba said...

on your question about Clackson,he played for the nordiques during the 1980-81 season 61 games.

MackJohnny said...

Thanks, eteba. No wonder I didn't remember him. The only thing I recall about hockey from that season is the Flyers' 35 game unbeaten streak (I think it was that season).