FIRE JOE MORGAN: Extra! Extra! Moneyball Causes Steroids!


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Friday, September 14, 2007


Extra! Extra! Moneyball Causes Steroids!

Senator Mitchell? You can end your investigation, sir. I'm sure you've been doing a lot of hard work, pounding the pavement, rooting around in dark alleys, wearing trenchcoats, smoking pipes. I'm telling you now you can stop and relax. Our long national roidmare is over thanks to a gutsy young muckraker from north of the border, one Mr. Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. At the cost of only his own blood, sweat, tears and pancreatic secretions, Mr. Griffin has fingered the culprit behind this whole steroid mess. Yes, there is only one. A lone gunman. A puppeteer behind the scenes. A criminal mastermind. A shadowlord lurking in the spaces our society dares not tread.

Who is it? It's a book. It's called Moneyball. Maybe you've heard of it?

People are always accusing me of misrepresenting what Moneyball was all about,

And it's impossible that you're actually wrong about it, so --

but there are so many facets and interpretations that it's tough to say anyone is really wrong.

I don't believe that's actually true, and certainly in this case, sir, it most undoubtedly is not. What you are about to say about Moneyball is unequivocally, unquestionably, indubitably wrong.

But think about this. One of the Billy Beane precepts was to look for college and, occasionally, high school hitters that were not really the greatest athletes on their team but had the discipline to wait for the right pitch and then smack the hell out of it when they found it. On-base percentage, dude. That's the wave of the future. Forget about how boring those four-hour games get. These were the bargains.

This is wrong, but not the wrongest part. That part we're about to get to. (As a an aside, does Griffin really blame Billy Beane for caring about winning at the expense of game length? We're trying to win games here, people, are we not?)

Take a deep breath, now, and pre-emptively duct tape your jaw so that it does not succumb to gravity, friends:

Now think of a college kid back then in the post-Mark McGwire era who knew he was always going to be on the fringe because he wasn't your most graceful natural athlete, but knew that if only he was a lot stronger, he could learn to play within himself and crush an occasional mistake pitch. As long as he didn't chase bad ones he could make an impact in this century's home run crazy major-league baseball. As for a position in the field, they could teach him to be adequate somewhere. Major league minimum of $319,000 (U.S.) is all that these kids wanted. That's the carrot. He had the stick. The rest was gravy. Before there was steroid testing, who, if they were on the fringe with a clear market for awkward sluggers, wouldn't take that plunge? Moneyball is over.

Wow. Wow. Wow. (The last "wow" was a backwards "wow," I'm so wowed.) It's so clear to me now. Moneyball is the root of all steroids! Bruce Willis is a ghost! Verbal Kint is Keyser Soze! How could we all have been so blind?

This book that Billy Beane wrote -- this devil's tome, those cursed words -- of course it's responsible for the great baseball evil of our time. Everyone who ever took steroids was an unathletic OBP machine. It's so obvious. "Awkward sluggers," all. "Fringe."

I feel that we're cleansed, now, America. Thank you, Mr. Griffin, or as they say in your native Canada, grazie. Now that you've revealed to us the truth, we can truly say that Moneyball, and therefore all steroid use, is finally dead.

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posted by Junior  # 8:20 PM
"Carrot" and "gravy" warrant a "food metaphors" tag, no?
When I added the food metaphors label, Blogger suggested any of the following possible labels, all previously used on FJM:

breakfast foods
food metaphors
Coda: Michael Lewis just lit up another cigar with a $100 bill.
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