Sunday, August 19, 2018

Billy Beane Again Has Low-Budget Athletics In The Hunt For The Post-Season

After the 2002 season, Red Sox principal owner John Henry offered Oakland GM Billy Beane $12.5 million to become Boston's chief baseball honcho. Beane's A's had just made history by winning 20 straight games during the 2002 season. Beane turned down the offer from the derivatives magnate and stayed in Oakland. Over his tenure, a small-budget franchise—in a crappy football stadium with an even worse fan-base—has consistently performed above expectations. This year, Beane's A's have matched the Red Sox juggernaut since June 16th (each team was 38-13 coming into this weekend). Just yesterday, Oakland caught the World Champion Astros—and are now tied for the lead in the AL West. Beane had famously used what Hollywood has called "Moneyball" to create the magic of winning without resources, by focusing on research and analytics. His example has pretty much overtaken all of baseball—for better or worse. As Beane has put it, "It's all about evaluating skills and putting a price on them. Thirty years ago, stockbrokers used to buy stock strictly by feel. Let's put it this way: Anyone in the game with a 401(k) has a choice. They can choose a fund manager who manages their retirement by gut instinct, or one who chooses by research and analysis. I know which way I'd choose." As Boston's post-season comes closer and closer, they may be running into the path of the red-hot A's on their way to The Fall Classic.