6 min read ⌚
The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Are you a baseball fan? Do you want to know the secret of success in this sport, told through a gripping true story?
It sounds promising, doesn’t it?
Well, get ready to get trapped into the 2002 baseball draft’s hidden procedures explained by Michael Lewis.
Who Should Read “Moneyball”? and Why?
“Moneyball” is an unusual name for a book, but it can be easily understood by any baseball and basketball fan. Put together in a rather smooth and readable manner, you’ll quickly get the message of how and why globalization impacts all sports.
It seems that globalization is a vaguely defined phenomenon, which according to some, the benefits bestowed upon everyone far outweigh the problems it has caused up to this point.
Anyway, we’ve come to the conclusion that Michael Lewis’ jewel is great for readers from all ends of the spectrum.
While reading, you’ll notice that the author marks baseball players, coaches, owners, and investors as his target group, but doesn’t exclude others from learning more about the game of baseball.
Stay tuned to learn more, and get your baseball knowledge to another level.
About Michael Monroe Lewis
Michael Monroe Lewis is a non-fiction writer and a renowned journalist born on October 15, 1960, at New Orleans, Louisiana.
He is the author of several best-selling books like Liar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street, book based on one investment banker’s journey through life.
Michael is also a visiting lecturer at Berkeley and works for the New York Times Magazine as a contributing writer.
The draft is underway with Billy Beane as the central figure who is also the general manager of the Oakland Athletics. He is backed by his team of professionals and the baseball scouts team.
Often described as baseball fanatic – Lewis divulges certain tricks that he acquired by exploring the fifteen decades-long baseball history. He fixates his attention on baseball adages, pro-players statistics, means used during and after the drafts, and the overall running of a baseball team.
With that off the list; what can you expect from this book?
Lewis doesn’t shy away from attempting to answer the million dollar question, that is heavily influenced by inept data management, and overall incompetence.
You may wonder, what is the question? – Apparently, the chain of procedures that can make or break an athlete. But, on the pedestal, you’ll find something even more important, which is the financial management,
All injured and healthy athletes as well-known competitors are familiar with the fact the baseball sometimes represents a metaphor for business, what an exciting theory that is apparently true!
You’ve probably figured it out by now that “Moneyball” is an intriguing book for every baseball fan, player, beginners or pro coach.
Even if you are not enthusiastic about baseball, out of sheer logic, you probably assume that younger, and energetic players fit into the frame of a perfect athlete. It’s not an enlightening fact, but an unquestionable truth.
Scouts from the first time they laid eyes on Billy Beane, sensed the talent and spirit of a real competitor. A future hall of fame, and All-Star performer for sure.
Later in his career, Beane regretted his decision to sign a pro-contract instead of going to Stanford on a scholarship. As a general manager of Oakland Athletics, he is aware that he should have gone to college.
Billy silenced the critics, by proving that the best athletes are not always in the spotlight, and other skills may come to the fore in such circumstances.
It’s also important to mention that in those days, the war between analysts and managers took an unexpected turn, as they were accusing one another of lacking the competence to comment on baseball.
Blah, Blah, Blah – let’s get started:
Investors and owners know that Baseball is a unique business where the management has succeeded and broadcasted a whole new belief system that enforced the baseball teams to spend too much of their salary cap on employees that are renowned for their incompetence to accomplish strategic goals:
Help the team to win matches and eventually championships.
What “Moneyball” makes of all this?
Well, in this book Lewis advised baseball managers and scouts how to assess the recruits and chose the best possible draft option that corresponds to the profile of particular type player that they’re looking for.
It’s not always about player’s speed, endurance, stamina, ability with the ball, its body shape, sometimes what counts the most is his understanding of the game, reading in-game situations and making smart decisions.
Key Lessons from “Moneyball”
- The inefficiency of Sloppy data
- Understand the phrase- No Play, No Error
- Unfair Offer
The inefficiency of Sloppy Data
James and several other former baseball players after their long and exhausting careers declared alongside with James that they were not satisﬁed with the way that the game of baseball kept their yearly statistics.
There weren’t enough useful and valuable information for those eager to understand the cause for their teams’ good or poor performances.
Two decades later, Wall Street Journal’s computer experts including Ken Mauriello together with Jack Armbruster decided to challenge and tried to resolve the complexities of ﬁnancial markets that the game of baseball was facing, especially derivatives that were exposed to the same issue.
Understand the phrase No Play, No Error
Baseball has two pillars and those pillars are the well-known “hits” and “errors”.
This baseball foundation motivated James to challenge that particular rulebook and simplify the game of baseball. For example, does the name Albert Belle ring any bells?
The passive and powerful hitter, playing at the left ﬁeld.
Have you heard about his all-around magnificent baseball story that serves as an example that Belle hasn’t been given any error because he moves slow, he doesn’t even try to catch the ball on the ﬂy, and on the other hand eliminating the chance for a play at home?
That leads us to a conclusion – No play, no error.
In the late 20th century, when Billy Beane played for Oakland Athletics’ as a ﬁfth outﬁelder, at a given point in his career he felt like the time has come to face a new challenge and so he became a scout.
Billy’s physical strength and endurance were known throughout the entire baseball world, where they all shared one common opinion that Billy would soon be a part baseball history and greatness.
Nevertheless, no one expected that Billy would just walk out of that ﬁeld and his dreams to get a well-paid office job, but that is exactly what it happened.
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“Moneyball” QuotesThe pleasure of rooting for Goliath is that you can expect to win. The pleasure of rooting for David is that, while you don’t know what to expect, you stand at least a chance of being inspired. Click To Tweet Managers tend to pick a strategy that is the least likely to fail, rather than to pick a strategy that is most efficient, Click To Tweet People in both fields operate with beliefs and biases. To the extent you can eliminate both and replace them with data, you gain a clear advantage. Click To Tweet That's what happens when you're thirty-seven years old: you do the things you always did but the result is somehow different. Click To Tweet If you challenge conventional wisdom, you will find ways to do things much better than they are currently done. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
Michael Lewis has a great writing style with which he can explain complex insider ideas to people not acquainted with specific topics, and even make it entertaining for them. However, at times, his writing style seems more technical, and thus his book feels more like a non-fiction than a biography.
However, for those who love and appreciate the game of baseball, its numbers, player’s box score, all around statistics, would find “Moneyball” a life-changing experience, because at the end of the day a simple baseball game can put a smile on your face.