FIRE JOE MORGAN: It's Time for the Backlash Feedback


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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It's Time for the Backlash Feedback

We got a lot of great emails responding to the last post about Jon Heyman. I thought I'd do a quick rundown of some of the best ones right here.

From Anthony:

Proof that Jon Heyman did not read Moneyball:

Heyman wrote, Epstein and Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, another Beane protégé, recently complained that they didn't have enough money to compete with the Yankees, a gripe you'd never hear from Beane and an unwitting admission that Moneyball isn't always the whole answer.

I'm assuming you own Moneyball. If so, flip to page 122. You'll find a box near the top of the page, displaying the text of a slide Billy Beane presented to Bud Selig's Blue Ribbon Panel for blah blah blah. If you don't feel like searching the book (and really, why should you? It's like when you'd ask a teacher what a word meant and she'd make you look it up in the dictionary. Bastard.) here's what it says:

*Movie about the hapless Cleveland Indians

In order to assemble a losing team, the owner distributes a list of players to be invited to spring training. The baseball executives say that most of these players are way past their prime. Fans see the list in the paper and remark, "I've never even heard of half these guys."

Our situation closely resembles the movie.

And a followup line from Michael Lewis: "[Beane] told the Blue Ribbon Panel that the Oakland A's inability to afford famous stars meant that no matter how well the team performed, the fans stayed away--which was the opposite of the truth."

In other words, Beane complained that they didn't have enough money to compete. Your move, Jon.

** EDIT **

Michael helpfully chimes in with the following backlash feedback feedback:

As a point of clarification, the response from Anthony that you posted in your latest thread (about how Billy Beane himself complained to the Blue Ribbon Commission that he needed more money to compete) is not really in the context provided in the quote. In "Moneyball," it's portrayed as if Billy Beane doesn't really believe any of the things he's showing in that presentation. The author makes it a point to portray the fact that Billy Beane is doing this presentation to mislead Selig and the salary cap determinists into thinking Beane agrees with them when in fact he believes that sound decisions and exploiting market inefficiencies can easily make small market teams competitive because so many around the league are making terrible decisions.

** END EDIT **

From Chris V.:

I felt you were more informative than Heyman. One of his comments ("[Beane]
learned his baseball as a ballplayer") particularly bothered me. Didn't Beane hate his experience as a ballplayer? In fact, doesn't/didn't a significant amount of his approach come from doing the opposite of what he experienced as a ballplayer?

Now, a different Chris:

I couldn't figure out the Ivy League-sized chip on Heyman's shoulder. Seeing how he went to that bastion of public school populism -- Northwestern. Of course, Heyman, a Long Island native probably made it to Northwestern as a fall-back. We're looking at a sad, 20 year old grudge.

Tony contributes:

I love the caption under the picture of Beane as a player: "Billy Beane hit .219 in 301 career at-bats with the Mets, Twins, Tigers and A's. In other words, he wasn't the type of player Billy Beane the GM would pick up."

Setting aside the fact that GM Beane would probably care more about Player Beane's career OBP of .246, not his .219 BA, Heyman conveniently misses that GM Beane did in fact pick up a .219 hitter just this off-season: Frank Thomas (.219 last year in 120+ AB with the White Sox). This happens to be the exact player Heyman's mysterious NL Executive Deep Throat singles out as "maybe" the only A's player "who stands out for talent." "Maybe."

And finally, from Lee:

I'm just curious if anyone is putting together some sort of collection of articles that refer to Theo Epstein as a failure in the very same paragraph that mentions that he won the 2004 World Series.

Thanks, readers! Check back later for more scintillating sports commentary commentary!

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posted by Junior  # 1:45 PM
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